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 was lucky enough to experience very different seats throughout my training contract: Housing, Commercial Litigation, Matrimonial and Commercial Dispute Resolution (a combined seat which involved assisting in Commercial Litigation, Construction, Insolvency 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, pre-Covid, employees could be found at the nearby bars each Friday. I’m sure that once it is safe to do so, this is something which we will all be keen to resume! However, throughout lockdown we have been encouraged to catch up virtually. The location of our Newcastle office dispels the myth that ‘it’s grim up north’ too, with lovely views of Quayside.