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From Aspiring Solicitor to WFW Trainee Solicitor: Peter's Journey

Book open Reading time: 4 mins

We recently caught up with Peter, a Trainee at WFW, to hear more about his journey into the sector...

Tell us a little bit about yourself and your journey into law.

I joined Watson Farley & Williams (WFW) later in life. After graduating with a degree in History I stayed on to complete a Master's degree, also in History, and then I worked for a few years as a consultant in the Critical Communications Industry. I enjoyed advising and working alongside other companies to help them achieve their objectives, but the industry was not for me. Law had always been in the back of my mind and by this time, I could ask friends of mine that were undergoing Training Contracts for their experiences.

After completing the Graduate Diploma in Law, and  the Legal Practice Course, I worked at Practical Law as an Assistant Editor to gain more exposure to the legal industry. During the pandemic, while working at Practical Law I received my Training Contract offer. Fast forward two years and here I am.

What is your role and how long have you been at WFW?

I am a Trainee Solicitor currently in my second seat, sitting in Assets & Structured finance. I have been at WFW for 6 months, having previously sat in Corporate.

What does a day in your life as a Trainee look like?

There are no typical days as a Trainee, so I'll provide an example of a recent day instead.

I normally arrive at 9/9.15am to grab an all-important coffee, see what meetings I have during the day, and look through the emails that have come through overnight.

At 9.30am I head to the canteen for a catch-up with my supervisor. Very helpfully he has scheduled these catch-up sessions every couple of weeks to provide ongoing feedback during my Assets & Structured Fnance seat.

At 10.30am I leave the office to head to a notary office to sign some mortgage releases for a deal that the WFW Greek office is working on as my name is written on the power of attorney.

At 11am I am back in the office for a closing for one of the aviation transactions that I am working on. Whilst I would normally go spend my lunch hour with the other Trainees, today I eat at my desk to make sure that the time-pressured closing runs smoothly.

At 2pm I make sure that we have dated all the documents for the transaction that has just closed, and I draft emails to the parties involved.

At 4pm a fellow Trainee pops into my office to ask me to witness her signing some documents.

At 5pm my supervisor gives me instructions on a drafting exercise to do for another transaction.

At 6.30pm I write down the tasks that are still ongoing and I double-check their deadlines with my colleagues. Before logging off I see if there is anything urgent to be completed tonight.

At 6.45pm I leave the office to play 5-a-side football with other members of the firm. This is a great way to meet others and promote yourself within the firm.

What’s been your favourite project/thing you’re most proud of from your time so far?

My favourite project so far has been undertaking the transfer of trustee ownership over an aircraft and its' engines between two separate trusts. Various jurisdictional closing matters had to be attended to, not least of which was the fact that an off-wing engine was in another aircraft. Part of my role was looking on Flightradar for upcoming closing windows and arranging a time when the transfer could be affected. At the time of closing, the aircraft was in the air and fortunately still in the necessary jurisdiction. I had to make sure I screenshotted the flight radar map at exactly the right time to capture the aircraft in the correct jurisdiction. The real-world element made it fascinating: namely, knowing that I was privy to the transfer taking place while the passengers were sitting onboard the airplane being none the wiser.

What top tips would you give members wanting to apply?

Tip Number 1. Be to be confident in yourself. As well as demonstrating that you have the necessary skills and education, I would also stress that you need to make a point of saying that you want to be a Solicitor and that you believe that you can do the job. If you have done your research and you know the firm, then this will give you the conviction to say this with authority. Do not get too disheartened by your failed attempts, you are often closer than you think.

Tip Number 2. Interview preparation. A few days before your interview get a close friend to ask you questions and conduct a mock interview. It takes the pressure off, having someone who knows you ask the questions. They often have some useful insights and can highlight strong points in your favour to expand on at your actual interview.

Tip Number 3. Apply for a Vacation Scheme wherever possible. If you are interested in a particular firm, it's the way to go. You gain valuable insight into what the firm is like behind the scenes, and what its' people are like, and when you come to your final interview you should be more relaxed and able to speak knowledgeably about the firm.