I first applied to Giles Wilson in the hope that they had a vacancy suitable for somebody who had never worked in an office environment before. It was to my utter surprise that I received a response to my prospective application and was invited for an interview. At that time, all I had on my CV was a law degree and a long line of retail jobs – how on earth was I going to fit into a law firm?
I remember the interview as clear as day. I came to the office in October 2013 and met Melinda and Philip for a Paralegal vacancy in the Residential Property department. I recall Melinda asking which type of law I was interested in; hindsight is a wonderful thing, but I clumsily blurted out “jurisprudence” (the study of legal theory, which would include Aristotle and Thomas Hobbes to name but a few). Looking back, I should have said something related to the firm’s practice areas but, thankfully, Melinda and Philip decided to take a chance on me nevertheless. The very next week, I was thrust into the Residential Property department with Helen during the Christmas period in the run up to a housing boom – some might say a ‘baptism of fire’.
I was also a very shy person when I started –to the extent where I would blush at the simplest of questions from my colleagues. It can be very intimidating coming into an environment full of professionals, especially when I couldn’t even make a coffee to use as an ice-breaker. However, time passed and trust increased; I started to feel my shyness fade into the background. I quickly learnt that you must be assertive (yet, diplomatic) when it comes to dealing with the opposing solicitors, in order to achieve your client’s objective.
The Paralegal training that was given was fantastic. I swiftly learnt the stages of a Residential transaction, dealt with Will signings with other members of the secretarial team, and learnt how to process lots of information very quickly. Not to mention, I was taught when to use “Yours faithfully” instead of “Yours sincerely” when signing off a letter!
In September 2015, I was offered a Training Contract. It was great to see that the Partners had faith in my ability, even though I sometimes doubted myself. I remember seeing other trainees at the time flying with their cases, and thought to myself “how on earth am I ever going to be able to do that?”
Throughout my time at Giles Wilson, I have gained experience in Residential Property, Commercial Property, Employment, Business and Commercial, Family and Matrimonial, Civil Litigation, Landlord and Tenant, and Contested Probate claims. In all areas, the work is built up so that a structured approach is adopted, which naturally accommodates a trainee’s teaching and development. It creates a solid base on which to start your future career.
Whilst working, I also undertook my Postgraduate Diploma in Legal Practice and Masters in Business and Law. The mix of skills which I picked up through these courses, accompanied by the varying services that I have been taught at Giles Wilson, have ultimately made me into the Solicitor I am today.
To any future trainees: brace yourself for a tough, yet rewarding, few years. Never doubt your own abilities, and think dynamically to achieve your desired outcome.