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Our trainees

As well as completing their legal training here, our trainee solicitors perform important roles in a variety of service areas right across Ward Hadaway.

But instead of us telling you what they do, we think it’s best to hear from someone first hand about the experience. Here a selection of our current crop give the lowdown on life as a Ward Hadaway trainee.

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Sam Walker

First Year Trainee

Upon graduating from the University of Nottingham, I moved back to my hometown of Leeds in order to complete my LPC and begin my training contract at Ward Hadaway. I did not want to live in London but still wanted to experience the highest quality of legal work. As one of the largest full service law firms in the North of England, Ward Hadaway was able to provide me with this.

During the recruitment process, it was clear that Ward Hadaway wanted to get to know me as a person. My interviewers wanted to know about my interests and hobbies, rather than what I had simply read in the Financial Times that morning. They were friendly, supportive and fully engaged throughout.

My training contract commenced with a three day induction in Newcastle, which brought together all of the trainees from across each of the offices. This was a great introduction to Ward Hadaway and allowed for all of the trainees to really get to know each other. Ward Hadaway, despite operating from a number of offices, strives to be one firm working together to provide the best possible client and working experience. Multi-office events such as these, and the many multi-office social events, make this a reality.

Following my induction, I was made to feel welcome as soon as I arrived at the Leeds office. The firm has a very friendly and down to earth culture. Colleagues frequently socialise outside of the office and the firm's social committee organise a range of events throughout the year. Recent highlights have included the summer barbeque, a charity bake sale and the Halloween party.

From the outset, I have been involved in work that is engaging. I have completed a wide range of tasks that have all allowed me to develop as a trainee. Even in my first few weeks, I have attended court multiple times and met with several clients. Colleagues provide detailed feedback on the work that I complete and are always willing to help.

Ultimately, my first few months at Ward Hadaway have been an amazing start to my career. The firm has provided me with high quality training, whilst also been a great place to work.

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Kerry McFarlane

Second Year Trainee

In my second year at university, I was invited to apply to Ward Hadaway's bursary scheme, which is offered to Newcastle and Northumbria University students. I was already aware of the firm as they get involved with a number of extra-curricular activities at Newcastle University, but I was very nervous when attending the bursary interview. I needn't have worried – the interviewers were friendly, encouraging and welcoming. I felt like they were considering my potential rather than expecting me to answer every question flawlessly.

I found the people at Ward Hadaway just as pleasant throughout my work experience and at my training contract interview. There were some difficult questions, but these encouraged me to think practically about how I would approach new challenges as a trainee.

One of the things which most appeals to me is the fact that Ward Hadaway is a full service firm. I have been lucky enough to have experienced three very different seats so far – Housing, Commercial Litigation and Matrimonial. The firm has always taken account of my preferences but also encouraged me to try areas of practice which I had not previously considered, but thoroughly enjoyed.

All of my supervisors have struck the perfect balance between ensuring my workload is managed and I feel supported, whilst giving me the opportunity to get stuck in to a variety of tasks. You are made to feel like part of the team straight away, and fee earners are always happy to help you out with any queries you have and provide comprehensive feedback. The work and clients that the firm attracts is testament to the fact that you don't need to work in London to have an fulfilling, challenging and varied legal career.

As a trainee, client contact is encouraged from the start – you are always invited to meetings and given the opportunity to attend lots of client networking events. We are also encouraged to take part in fundraising and community activities. In my first week at the firm I took part in 3 Points North, a non-stop relay between our three offices, and I now volunteer at a weekly lunchtime run for the general public which takes place near to our office.

The firm is very sociable and employees can be found at the nearby bars each Friday. The location of our Newcastle office dispels the myth that 'it's grim up north' too, with lovely views of Quayside.

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Rebecca Coates

Second Year Trainee

I was very fortunate to be offered a training contract after carrying out a vacation scheme placement whilst I was in my second year of study, completing a Law Degree at the University of York. During the training contract interview process, I felt Ward Hadaway truly cared about my personality and interests both in and out of law, even encouraging applicants to produce a presentation of their choice to demonstrate not only their skill set but to understand their passion for a particular topic.

Ward Hadaway's presence in the North of England whilst still maintaining a national client base was very appealing to me. I was always committed to staying in the North and was excited at the prospect of working with and growing some of the regions most esteemed businesses.

From day one of my training contract I was involved in interesting work and able to thrive within an approachable and supportive environment. Perhaps this is a result of the firm's nature, with an open-door approach adopted by all throughout the firm. I felt comfortable asking questions no matter how trivial I felt they were. Supervisors and partners in particular, are really keen to set aside time to discuss the work you have produced and how you are settling into the department.

In my first seat, in the Real Estate team, I was involved in all aspects of the transaction, attending client meetings and planning committee hearings. You are encouraged to attend as many meetings as possible, to interact with the client and understand the wider context of the transaction you are involved in. I loved the characteristically tangible nature of the Real Estate work. Seeing developments and knowing that you were actively involved in some way in making that development a reality and providing a home or place of work for so many people is a really rewarding feeling.

The firm has a great mix of educational, social and sporting events, including netball and tag rugby. There is always something going on and trainees are actively encouraged to immerse themselves in firm life. With twenty fellow trainees across the three offices to share your experiences with, you are sure to make friends for life.

Throughout my time at the firm I have come to truly believe that Ward Hadaway has a commitment to developing your progression as a lawyer whilst also pushing your individuality. I have felt like my opinion has counted both in my choice of seats and in the feedback given to develop the training contract for future trainees.

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Alex Howarth

Second Year Trainee

Prior to joining Ward Hadaway, having always lived and studied in the North East, I had always wanted to build a career in law in the region. The firm always stood out to me as one of the largest and most reputable firms in the region, with a clear identity and focus on the North of England distinguishing it from other commercially focused firms with offices in the area.

Since joining Ward Hadaway initially as a paralegal in 2016, in each of the departments I have worked in, I have found myself challenging and stimulating work for a wide variety of businesses and individuals in both the public and private sectors. From the outset, it was made clear that even as a junior fee earner I was a valued member of my department and the firm as a whole, and I was given a lot of opportunities and responsibilities to develop. Seeing friends and colleagues progress their careers here has also proven to me that the firm does care about retaining and developing talented lawyers.

I found the training contract application process to be very different to other firms which I applied to. The group exercises and interviews were quite informal and fun and I felt that a lot of it was about the firm getting to know candidates as people and see whether they are a good fit for the firm and vice versa.

Everyone that I have encountered at the firm has been friendly and approachable, regardless of their position and people will always take the time to offer support and advice when needed, which is a brilliant environment for people at the beginning of their legal careers to work and learn in. The firm genuinely cares about developing its trainees, with supervision on a day to day basis from supervising partners, mid seat reviews and end of seat appraisals ensuring that the both the trainees and the firm are able to get the most out of the two years.

Ward Hadaway is a fun and relaxed place to work and things like the dress for your day policy is a nice bonus! The trainees and other junior lawyers are very sociable with events and sports clubs to attend most week and are also really lucky to be based on the Quayside, which means you can go running on a lunchtime and have plenty of bars and restaurants to choose from for post work nights out.

I have thoroughly enjoyed my time at the firm to date and feel that I have developed a lot both as a lawyer and as a person.