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At the end of two years' hard work, our trainee solicitors become fully qualified.

So what is it like to make the transition? One of our recently qualified solicitors gives his view.

James Donnelly

I began my training contract with Ward Hadaway in September 2011 and worked in Commercial Property (Public Sector), Healthcare Litigation, Corporate and Commercial Litigation over the following two years. I qualified into the Healthcare team in September 2013.

I thoroughly enjoyed all four practice areas (called ‘seats’ at Ward Hadaway) and eventually decided that I wanted to pursue the litigious route and qualify into the Healthcare team.

I particularly enjoyed the nature of the work which I was presented with in Healthcare, namely defending medical negligence claims on behalf of NHS clients, advising on all aspects of civil litigation and medical law and spending time in the Civil Courts, as well as the Coroners Court when dealing with inquest-related work on behalf of the NHS.

As a trainee solicitor in Healthcare, I primarily assisted the qualified members of the team with their case loads. My workload was extremely varied and interesting. This included drafting applications to Court, preparing witness statements, instructing Counsel and experts, dealing with disclosure and undertaking research on various civil litigation and medical negligence matters. I was also given the opportunity to attend Court on numerous occasions, including a four-day County Court trial.

As a qualified solicitor, I now have my own case load of clinical negligence actions where I defend NHS clients when they are sued by patients in the Civil Courts. In addition, I assist more senior colleagues with inquests and provide ad hoc advice in relation to medical law issues. I also undertake secondments in the legal departments of client NHS Trusts and deliver talks and presentations to clients on various aspects of medical law and clinical negligence.

I found the transition between trainee solicitor and NQ to be smooth and uncomplicated. Ward Hadaway manage the transition in an efficient and professional manner, whereby your case load is steadily built up over a period of time and you are instructed to handle cases which are appropriate for your level of knowledge and experience. At the same time, Ward Hadaway provide an excellent level of supervision, with each file having a designated supervising partner who will review all substantive work which you undertake and provide constant guidance and feedback on a day-to-day basis.

Going forward, I hope to continue to develop my knowledge and ability in my chosen area of practice and look to build on the great level of experience which I have already gained during my training contract.

James Donnelly


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