Eleanor Folger is a trainee solicitor (care) at Ramsdens, she kindly share how she secured her training contract at an award winning law firm, the training contract process and tips for securing your TC.
How I secured a training contract at Ramsdens
As a first year English Literature student, when my interests started to gravitate towards a career in law, I realised I needed experience in a firm to solidify this decision. I applied for a week of work experience at Ramsdens in 2016 which later progressed to three summer vacation schemes whilst I was studying my undergraduate degree.
I experienced a range of departments across the firm’s various Yorkshire-based offices and gained insight into how the different areas of law operated.
As a non-law graduate, I was conscious of not having the same opportunities as traditional law graduates. I was therefore grateful for what I was able to experience at such an early stage of my career. From these experiences, I was able to gain a sense of the types of law I was interested in.
I liked working with individuals but remained open-minded about corporate and commercial law, and I knew that Ramsdens as a full-service law firm would give me this opportunity.
I was keen to keep my foot in the door and secure a permanent role at Ramsdens, so I subsequently started working part-time alongside studying for the Graduate Diploma in Law (GDL). I then worked for a year full-time before again embarking on part-time work alongside the Legal Practice Course (LPC).
Whilst it was undeniably difficult to balance work and studies at the same time, I was motivated by the prospect of trying to secure a training contract. I therefore involved myself in everything I possibly could within the firm, including drafting blogs, participating in webinars, organising socials and attending networking events.
When lockdown hit in 2020, my focus shifted to social media in order to have a presence, and the additional time I had on my hands (as a result of no longer commuting) gave me the chance to focus on keeping up with the changes within the industry.
It also gave me the chance to develop the department I was in, such as through the implementation of efficient remote working practices. Despite enjoying this extra free time, once we were able to return to the offices, I took this opportunity to work alongside my experienced colleagues as I had missed learning via osmosis.
My experience of getting a training contract therefore involved a lot of hard work and commitment to the firm I was already in. I wouldn’t change this route into securing a training contract because my experiences as a legal assistant gave me the grounding to become a more confident trainee solicitor.
As a full-service law firm with offices across Yorkshire, I was attracted to Ramsdens as a growing firm with lots of opportunity. I was keen to secure a training contract in a firm where I knew I wouldn’t be pigeon-holed too quickly into a certain area of law. Another of my aims when securing a training contract was to ensure I would receive the best possible training.
Based on my experiences as a legal assistant, where I was able to watch my trainee solicitor colleagues develop, I knew that I would receive a high level of training as a trainee at Ramsdens. It was clear that I would be heavily supported but would also be afforded responsibility to fully equip me upon qualification.
Training Contract Process
The training contract process with Ramsdens involved submitting a CV and cover letter, a mixer with other trainees (via Zoom during lockdown but now in person) alongside an interview with a partner in the firm, followed by a formal final panel interview.
As a firm, Ramsdens is open to evolving its processes and learning from experiences. On this basis, I am aware that the process for the next cohort of trainees has been slightly different this year and involved a group task.
Tips for obtaining a training contract
I would get involved with a firm at the earliest opportunity and just make it known that you’re open to learning! Try to have a strong understanding of the law firm as a business model and bring your ideas of how you would develop the firm into the future. Think about what makes you unique as an individual and don’t be quiet about your strengths!
Send us a question via Instagram @ramsdens_trainees with the hashtag #askatrainee…we’d love to hear from you.
Photo by Simone Hutsch on Unsplash