Trainee Solicitors

Training Contracts at GN Law

Here at GN Law we have a flexible approach to what we look for in a trainee solicitor.

As a general rule, we require a minimum of a 2:1 degree and a demonstrable interest in the work that we do. The ideal candidate will be able to show that they have a passion for one or more of the areas of law in which we specialise. Three Trainee positions are available each year, two in March and two in September. Our trainees usually come from our existing paralegals.

An ability to work in a team based environment and to command the confidence of our clients are also essential qualities that we look for. Functioning productively as a trainee solicitor is as much about attitude as it is aptitude. Hard-working people with commitment and common sense will excel.

While a 2:1 is normally our minimum requirement, we will carefully consider applicants with extenuating circumstances, especially if they have a clear commitment towards the work that we do. Other relevant work experience or direct involvement in an area of law will be important.

What is life as a Trainee Solicitor really like at GN Law?

Life as a trainee solicitor with GN Law is busy! All of our trainees are treated as ‘fee earners’ which means that they do real work on files for real clients. While it varies from one department to another, our trainees are likely to have files in their own names for which they are responsible and for whom they are the client’s first point of contact. We have an extensive induction procedure to ease trainees (and paralegals) into life with us and regular ongoing training to continue to develop skills essential to daily life as an aspiring lawyer.

Coaching, Leadership and Video Training

The GN team also benefits from our innovative in-house coaching and leadership training as well our video training where they can analyse and get feedback on how they come across to clients and other parties who they meet face-to-face. Having a good rapport with clients and gaining their confidence early is key to delivering the service that they deserve and will often demand. Our video training alongside more traditional training helps our trainees develop how they present themselves both socially and directly with clients.

Supervision

Supervision is constant. The open plan layout of our offices means that supervision is provided as and when needed. Weekly departmental meetings provide a forum for discussion and supervision away from the hustle and bustle of day-to-day working life and to reflect on specific issues including work-loads and any recurring problems.

All staff, including trainees, have quarterly meetings with their supervisor to look at their performance and to discuss ways to consolidate progress and improve further. Their progress under their training contract is more formally reviewed every six months, which normally coincides with a change of seat (see below).

While busy, life as a trainee at GN Law involves quality work with high levels of responsibility and training helping our trainees realise their full potential as lawyers.

Seats

In March 2020, we revised our approach to trainee solicitors with two primary 12-month seats during their training contract. These can be mixed seats, thereby allowing the trainee to gain experience in more than two areas of law, but often they will not be mixed (see below).

GN Law normally has six trainee solicitors at any one time. Three training contracts start in March of each year and we normally select our trainees from in-house paralegals but we do welcome external, candidates. Interviews for the March starts are held in the preceding September following an application process which is open in July and August of that preceding year. Application is by CV and covering letter sent to hr@gnlaw.co.uk .

Having trainees do just two primary areas of law, provides a better opportunity for the trainee in question to learn their preferred area of law more deeply and increase their chances of being kept on with the firm post-qualification. We will advertise what seat combinations are available at the start of July in the year preceding the training contract start so that candidates and consider which of the seat combinations they would like to apply for.

At any one time, we generally have the following number of trainees in the following areas, although this can vary:

For example, the seat combinations for starts in March 2021 were:

Year 1Year 2
Trainee 1Court of ProtectionMental Health
Trainee 2Mental HealthWills & Probate / Court of Protection
Trainee 3Family / HousingFamily / Actions Against Public Authorities

From Paralegal To Trainee – Your GN Law Journey

  • 3 training contracts are available each March (more in exceptional circumstances, but 3 is the norm).
  • Applications will be invited for these in the preceding September.
  • In order to be eligible to apply, paralegals must have worked with us for 6 months as at the date of the interview so that we can assess performance.
  • The directors have discretion to allow applications from paralegals without 6 months experience with us in exceptional circumstances and on the recommendation/support of their supervisor.

Time to count

As a general rule, we no longer allow trainees to take time to count in order to shorten their training contracts with us.

The firm needs the certainty of knowing what trainee solicitor resources each department has in order to allow us to plan and staff departments appropriately. Having trainees qualify early is disruptive and would leave departments without trainee support until the next trainee was due to start. Therefore, while there may always be exceptions to the rule, is will be rare for us to agree to grant time to count and trainees should assume that this will not be possible.

When can I start my training contract?

Of course, if you have already completed your LPC successfully then you are eligible to start your training contract.

However, it is possible to undertake the LPC part-time, over two years, and be employed as a trainee solicitor concurrently. More than half of our current trainees are approaching their training contract in this way. It makes sense. It allows our trainees to earn a wage that helps pay their LPC fees monthly rather than increasing their student debt. Some of our current trainees go to college/University in the weekday evening while others have weekend tuition. For those needing to leave the office early during the week to attend lectures, this is accommodated.

Study Leave

Also, we understand that our trainees, especially those doing the LPC concurrently, need study leave either for LPC or PSC exams. We allow five days paid study leave per year. Additional study leave can be taken as holiday or unpaid if necessary and approved by the directors. We find that our trainees almost always stay within the five days leave allowed.

How To Apply

GN Law is a multi-talented team of solicitors, barristers, paralegals, accounts and finance specialists and support staff. We’re always interested in hearing from people at all levels who think they have something unique to add, so please send your CV, covering letter and equal opportunities form to hr@gnlaw.co.uk or browse our current vacancies.

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