Introducing Bianca, Trainee Solicitor at EG group
My name is Bianca Ali and I am a Trainee Solicitor currently training in-house at EG Group, a leading independent convenience retailer.
I am due to qualify on 16 May 2022. Throughout my training contract, I have gained experience across a broad spectrum of legal practices, spanning from employment law, data protection, and commercial real estate, all the way through to general litigation, intellectual property, and corporate and commercial law.
The areas of law I have worked on have been directly geared towards the needs of the business, and it has been great to apply my knowledge in a live commercial environment. After I qualify, I intend to focus on corporate law as I have enjoyed the fast-paced and intellectually stimulating work in these situations.
How I secured my training contract
EG Group is a global company consisting of more than 6,300 sites across three continents with over 50,000 colleagues. The group operates across three core areas: grocery and merchandise, fuel, and food service.
Our sites include petrol forecourts and food service outlets, and we are a franchisee for many of the world’s most popular brands, including Starbucks, Burger King, Cinnabon, and Sbarro. To complement these existing partnerships and take its food service offer to the next level, EG acquired outright the naturally fast-food brand, LEON, and Cooplands, the UK’s second-biggest bakery chain, in 2021.
My route to securing a training contract at EG was slightly different from the usual application and interview process, as I started as a Paralegal, reporting directly to the Group General Counsel and Company Secretary. I worked as an in-house Paralegal for about a year and this experience allowed me to obtain and build on the fundamental skills needed to become a trusted advisor to EG.
After working as a Paralegal, I took maternity leave for a few months to have my little boy and when I returned, I started my training contract. Undertaking a training contract with a 5-month-old was quite a challenge - there were a few sleepless nights - but I wanted to show my little boy from a young age that adults can have demanding careers and be great parents too.
Top tips for aspiring legal professionls
Whilst I was a Paralegal I did the following, which helped me secure my training contract:
1. Kept people up-to-date on any tasks I was working on.
2. Stuck to deadlines - I kept my promises to people on when I would deliver work.
3. Offered to help other team members when I had the capacity.
4. Demonstrated a willingness to learn by undertaking tasks I had never done before and also asking for feedback on any improvements I could make to my work.
5. I was proactive whilst working with other members of my team to help projects progress more quickly.
6. I took time to step back and consider the bigger picture when working on tasks to ensure I reached my goals and completed tasks to the best of my ability.
7. Built a rapport with various members of staff across EG. Essentially it was the same as getting to know your clients in private practice.
8. I was honest in my ability and I was not afraid to tell my supervisor when I did not understand something.
If I was applying for training contracts now, I would certainly watch YouTube videos of current trainees and NQs - I won’t name names, but they are pretty influential people and great role models for aspiring solicitors.