“The journey to qualification as a trainee is challenging, the one thing that remains constant is the support available to you throughout.”

What is unique about Fox Williams?

Tayler Sani, Trainee Solicitor

What truly sets Fox Williams apart is its culture. They have created such a warm and welcomingTayler Sani Fox Williams environment – it took less than a week to feel at home at the firm.

The firm has a small intake, with only 2-3 trainees being taken on in each cycle. This means that trainees are given a high level of responsibility and generous client exposure from the outset. Whilst late nights are an occasional necessity due to this level of responsibility, getting home at a reasonable time is strongly encouraged if the work is done. With the firm having an impressive range of clients, there is also ample opportunity for trainees to get involved with high-quality work rivalling that of bigger City firms.

The quality of the training at Fox Williams is further benefit – a significant amount of effort is made to ensure that trainees feel supported. Partners and associates alike are highly approachable, and trainees are encouraged to raise any questions that they may have.

The layout of the office also means that you share an office with a partner, and often work directly with them. This facilitates invaluable opportunities to learn first-hand from highly experienced and accomplished lawyers. This exposure to partners additionally helps to build your confidence as well as your reputation and profile at the firm.

The sense of camaraderie and fellowship between both the trainees and the wider firm is further enhanced by the abundance of social events hosted. Outside of work, a number of activities exist to get involved in – from wine clubs, to book clubs, to sporting events, there is something for everyone!’

Working with senior members of the team

Cristiana Mitrofan, Final Seat Trainee

Cristiana MitrofanSince joining Fox Williams in March 2020, I have had very few days in which I have not worked directly with a partner, senior associate or legal director. Senior members of my team take time to give me feedback, which contributes to my learning and professional development. For example, one of the partners called me after a client meeting to explain why he advised the client in the way that he did and what legal and commercial factors he considered.

I have a weekly chat with one of the legal directors, which was organised to give me an opportunity to ask questions and discuss my progress. This is in addition to the regular meetings I have with my supervising partner and with my mentor. I think the regular contact with the senior members of the team, which means I learn directly from the best lawyers in their fields, and their genuine interest in my development is one of the best things at Fox Williams.

The journey to becoming an NQ

Vladimir Arutyunyan, Associate

When I joined the firm, I was sure that I wanted to be a litigator. Even with my preferences in mind, I made sure to approach each seat without anything making any assumptions. I wanted to make the most of each rotation and didn’t want to write anything off before my training contract ended.

Before the start of each seat, HR asks the trainees to submit their seat preferences, with a primary and secondary choice. At Fox Williams, seat rotation is decided with preferential allocation given to the more senior trainees. That said, the HR department does a really good job in taking everyone’s preferences into account.

As soon as you know which department you want to qualify into (for some that is before they join for others that is in their final seat) get your foot in the door! Remind partners and associates that you want to join their team, help with projects, business development, social events and social media posts.

Prior to qualifying you will speak to HR and Heads of Department to make sure everyone is aligned and if there is more than one trainee applying to a specific department, further interviews will take place.

What shouldn’t be taken for granted is the relatively unique experience of working in four different departments across a company. It is an excellent chance to grow your network, experience parts of the firm that you may not see once you qualify and to learn from colleagues who have been at their craft for years, even decades. Also, do make sure that you stay in touch with colleagues after you have moved seats.

Most importantly, don’t lose sight of the fact that it is a training contract. Even as you approach your qualification date, no one expects you to have all the answers, you are there to train and learn. It is a truly amazing experience when you find yourself at the right place with the right people to nurture you as you develop.

The social aspect of life

Millie Pierce, Trainee Solicitor

For me, attending social events has been a great way to feel part of the firm, introduce myself to new colleagues and settle into life at Fox Williams – and there has been no shortage of opportunities to meet people.

I started as a trainee during the pandemic and the firm did a great job in arranging virtual social events such as a weekly wine club, HIIT workouts, coffee roulette and virtual quizzes.

As we have started to move back offline, the Fox Williams Social and Charity Committee has continued to organise a great range of events in support of our chosen charity of the year, Refuge. These socials help trainees meet colleagues from all areas of the firm and have ranged from rounders in the park (in the summer of course!), to guided historical walks of London, the annual quiz night and the Christmas party.

The firm also organises regular ‘Lunch and Learn’ training sessions covering an array of topics, TED talks and sessions discussing mental health awareness, menopause and much more. The Diversity and Inclusion forum also organises a wide range of events throughout the year which have most recently included a British Sign Language workshop and a fascinating talk on Black Cowboys and Cowgirls.

Each department holds frequent social events following seat rotations so that trainees and new joiners feel welcomed to the team. The trainee group also organises events such as breakfasts, mini golf and the trainee welcome dinner to build the support network of trainees.”

Why I applied for a training contract

Georgia Andreou, Trainee Solicitor

I applied for a training contract at Fox Williams because I wanted to train at a smaller firm thatGeorgia Andreou Fox Williams gave trainees the opportunity to be involved in high quality work from the outset. 

The firm is widely known for its friendly and inclusive culture which only adds to the sense of trainees being genuinely valued and likely to receive an excellent training experience.

From a legal interest perspective, I was also attracted to Fox Williams’ more niche sector specialisms, such as Fashion, which aligned with my personal interests. Because the firm’s trainee intake is relatively small, I knew I would therefore have the opportunity to be involved in really interesting work in a fostering and friendly environment.

Whilst I was on my Vacation Scheme, it came as no surprise that all of my positive assumptions about the firm rang true and I was delighted to accept a training contract with the firm.

What work will I be doing? How does the seat system work?

Jessica Howard, Trainee Solicitor

Trainees will complete four six-month seats, gaining experience of both contentious and non-contentious work. Typically, first seat trainees are automatically allocated to a seat but HR will be in touch throughout your training contract, to find out your preferences and see how they can accommodate them. One piece of advice I’d give to future trainees is to be open-minded – even if you find yourself in a seat that wasn’t your first choice – some seats could take you by surprise!

The work varies from department to department but trainees have the opportunity to work directly with partners and are given a high level of responsibility from day one.

In one of my seats I largely managed the client relationship and had settlement discussions by myself with the solicitor on the other side which was exciting. Other typical trainee tasks include legal research, drafting notes of advice, attending and taking notes of client meetings, liaising with counsel and preparing bundles.

Trainees have monthly catch-ups with their supervising partner to ensure that they are getting the necessary experience and exposure to all areas of the department. In addition to chargeable work, we’re also encouraged to get involved in the firm’s sector groups and business development activities to raise our profile both within the firm and externally.

To get the most out of each seat, and your training contract as a whole, I’d encourage future trainees to be enthusiastic and show a real willingness to get stuck into every aspect of Fox Williams life!

A day in the life of a trainee

Fawad Rashid Fox Williams

Fawad Rashid, Trainee Solicitor

Fawad provides a flavour of what life was like in the office before working from home became a necessity.

09:00
I aim to get into the office by 9:00, so I can enjoy a quick breakfast and coffee, and check my emails. If there are not any emails that require an urgent response, I check my task list for the day to make sure I’m prepared for the day!

09:30
We have a dispute resolution department meeting every other day to discuss ongoing matters in the department and look at capacity levels for the week. It is a good platform to brief the department on matters that I am involved in and if I am quieter than usual, I can detail my capacity levels so I can support my colleagues elsewhere and get experience of a wider range of matters.

10:00
I receive a call from a partner asking for assistance on a new matter. It is a claim for a breach of contract and the client instructed us to obtain a debt order from the court.

I am asked to draft the claim form and the particulars of claim. These documents are required to file a claim with the court. As this is my first time drafting these documents, I ensure that I take detailed notes when speaking to the partner and ask as many questions as I can, before beginning to draft.

12:00
After drafting the claim form, I ask one of the associates to proof-read it and ensure that I have covered the key points and structured the documents correctly. The associates at the firm are very invested in the development of the trainees and they often spare time to guide us through any work we might have or answer any questions.

Most matters are made up of a team of either a partner and a trainee or a partner, a trainee and an associate, which helps to maintain contact with and learn from more senior members of the firm.

13:00
Lunchtime! The trainees often go to lunch together and it is a great time to catch up on everyone’s day in their respective departments. It is also useful to understand the type of work that I may be doing in my next seat rotations through having lunch and a chat with the other trainees.

14:00
I receive an email from another partner asking if I can put together an urgent draft order. A draft order accompanies an application to the court and is essentially the order that you are asking the Court to make, and if granted, the Judge will sign and approve. After a quick introduction on the background of the matter, I put together the draft order. As this is the first time I am putting together a draft order, I search for a precedent on the department’s systems to make sure I get the correct information. I make a note to speak to the department head about keeping the precedent bank updated.

15:30
I receive an email from the associate on the draft claim form to discuss the work. It is common in the firm for associates to make the time to go through the work and provide detailed feedback. This allows me to take detailed notes on the constructive feedback and continually improve my work.

16.30
Shortly after, I finalise the draft order and email it to the Partner. He asks me to discuss it together and he provides feedback on the draft. I am very pleased that my work is reviewed right away, and it allows me to quickly make the required changes and bear them in mind for the next draft order that I am tasked with. I then send the updated draft back to the Partner for sign off.

17:45-18:30
I manage to catch the head of the department to discuss my thoughts on what I can do to help maintain the department’s precedent bank having used it to put together the draft order. After a short discussion, I note down action points that were discussed and map out the next steps I can undertake on this project.

18:30-19:30
Depending on my workload, I can usually leave the office around this time. Before I leave, I ensure that my daily task list is complete and close all of my time narratives. I make note of any matters that might need addressing tomorrow morning to leave a reminder for myself.

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