Past Training Contract Case Studies

Past Training Contract Case Studies

People’s Profiles 

Prospective trainees are also invited to look at the profiles of other members of the firm who have trained and then qualified to work in the firm.

We also run a training program for trainee Legal Executives.

Jennifer Allen - Director

Jennifer Allen joined the firm as a trainee in March 2006. She completed her training contract in 2008. Jennifer became a fully qualified solicitor running her own caseload upon qualification and was promoted to an Associate Solicitor in September 2011. Two years later, Jennifer was invited to be a Director of the firm and enjoys a career practising in family law.
Jennifer is now the Director with responsibility for trainees and overseeing each training contract from start to qualification.  
Marcus Crawley

Meet one of our solicitors who was a trainee at Hughes Paddison, Marcus Crawley Marcus joined the firm in 2013 and qualified into the Family Department on completing his training contract.

Q: Why did you decide to choose a career in the law?

A: My older brother trained as a barrister before cross qualifying as a solicitor. When I was in school, he would visit home and tell us about the sorts of interesting cases that he had been working on and stories about some of his Court experiences. I think that those stories planted the seed that a career in law might be for me. 

Having decided that I would like to explore a career in law, I organised a number of work experience placements, during which I was able to get a taste for both office life and Court work. Seeing the breadth of cases that you get to experience as a lawyer helped to reassure me that becoming a solicitor was what I wanted to do.  

Q: Why did you apply to Hughes Paddison?

A: After completing my LPC, I applied for a variety of different jobs and was able to secure three offers for training contracts at different firms around the country. One of the offers was to work as a Prison Law paralegal in a firm in Cheltenham, with a view to commencing my training contract within a year. As the Prison Law role involved running my own case load and carrying out advocacy at Parole hearings, I decided that of the three jobs I had been offered, it would give me the best experience in starting my career in law. 

Having experienced Prison Law for a year, I decided that I did not wish to pursue a career in Criminal Law. Whilst I had gained valuable experience in my previous firm, I then knew that I wished to instead qualify into Family Law. As such, I began to look elsewhere for a training contract. Hughes Paddison is a leading firm within Cheltenham and so, when I saw them advertising for trainees, I jumped at the chance to submit an application. The seats advertised seemed ideal for gaining experience to commence my career as a family lawyer.  

Q: Describe your experience as a trainee at Hughes Paddison:

A: I had a wonderful time as a trainee at Hughes Paddison. Before starting my training contract, I briefly worked as a paralegal in our Litigation Department. I was then able to have seats in Family, Residential Property, Commercial Property and Private Client. Having such a broad and interesting range of training seats has allowed me to expand my knowledge base and gain experience in a number of areas of law that are relevant to my work as a family lawyer. 

The trainees at Hughes Paddison have traditionally led the Cheltenham Junior Lawyers Division and so I have been able to get to know trainees from other firms in the area. 

Hughes Paddison has the feel of a family firm. From the moment of my first interview with two of the firm’s Directors, I have felt welcomed, accepted and part of the family. It is a firm that values individuality and helps foster a supportive and friendly environment. 

Q: How did you choose the area you wished to qualify into?

A: I have always been fascinated by people. As such, when I chose my options at university, I was able to tailor my degree towards Family Law. The privilege of being a Family solicitor is that you are able to see a snapshot of how different people organise their lives. No two cases are the same and so there is always something new to make the job interesting. 

Q: How is life as a qualified solicitor? 

A: I am thoroughly enjoying it. I feel lucky to have found a career that challenges me each day and allows me to see such a varied amount of work. Working at Hughes Paddison continues to be a pleasure and I am looking forward to a long and varied career with the firm.

Paul Harris

Meet one of our associates who was a trainee at Hughes Paddison, Paul Harris. Paul joined Hughes Paddison in 2015 and qualified in December 2017. 

Q: Why did you decide to choose a career in the law?

A: During my GCSEs and A-levels my strongest subjects were History, English Literature and Philosophy. Whilst I enjoyed these, I wanted to study something at university where I could apply skills from those areas to a degree that would enable me to graduate and be employable without having to do another degree. I was slightly naïve!

Q: Why did you apply to Hughes Paddison?

A: Following graduation in my undergraduate law degree and completion of the LPC I began looking at firms within a relatively close proximity of where I grew up. Hughes Paddison was a firm that stood out as a medium sized, full service, ‘high street’ practice. I had actually started working in a small niche firm in Herefordshire that focused predominantly on Private Client law within a few months of completing the LPC. Fairly shortly after starting my first legal job I was offered the chance to interview at Hughes Paddison. The rest is history.

Q: Describe your experience as a trainee at Hughes Paddison:

A: A learning curve. I started as a fresh faced 22 year old who had no real experience or knowledge of family law, litigation or commercial property law and finished as a slightly less fresh faced 24 year old with experience of all three areas and some knowledge of commercial property (the area I now specialise in)! Joking aside, I did learn a lot in all three areas, mainly through being given ‘hands on’ experience and assisting senior fee earners with their workload.
Having a sense of humour makes life a lot easier and being in a workplace that values a sense of humour is incredibly important. From my first interview with Hughes Paddison it was apparent that this would be a firm that I would feel comfortable in and would encourage and support my development from a trainee solicitor to a newly qualified solicitor and beyond.

Q: How did you choose the area you wished to qualify into?

A: Commercial property had been an area of law that had appealed to me since degree and LPC level. I had particularly enjoyed contract law at University, many aspects of which are directly applicable to commercial property- an area I studied on the LPC. Before I started my training contract I had decided that commercial property was the area that I would most likely want to specialise in, despite having not really had any experience in it up until that point. Needless to say it came as a pleasant surprise when I found out that, once I started my commercial property seat, I actually quite enjoyed the work! There is nothing more rewarding in my line of work than being able to help facilitate the smooth completion of a transaction or being able to solve a particularly tricky problem.

Q: How is life as a qualified solicitor? 

A: Busy, but rewarding. Managing my own caseload and looking after my own clients means that there is rarely a dull moment. Each transaction has its own unique sense of circumstances and challenges. Generally speaking, on a property transaction everyone is working towards the same goal and has the same objectives in mind. Being able to manage expectations and facilitate results is extremely satisfying.

Leah Vincent

Meet one of our Solicitors who was a Trainee Solicitor at Hughes Paddison, Leah Vincent. Leah joined Hughes Paddison in 2018, qualified in October 2020 and is a Solicitor in the Private Client Department.

Q: Why did you decide to choose a career in law?

A:  Since I was 16, I have shown a consistent interest in a legal career. My interest began when I completed a career quiz at school. This suggested I would be suited to working in law. Following this result, I obtained a work placement at a local firm and discovered that not only did I find the experience interesting, but a career in law would play to my strengths and attributes. I then applied to do an LLB Law degree, continued to obtain legal work experience wherever possible and by the time I graduated, my decision was made that law was the career path for me.

Q: Why did you decide to stay at Hughes Paddison?

A: During my Training Contract I knew that if the opportunity arose for me to stay at Hughes Paddison as an NQ Solicitor, and in the area of law I wanted to qualify into, then I would. To my delight, this happened! Throughout my Training Contract I was made to feel not only as an integral part of the firm, but also part of a family and I have continued to feel this way. The working environment at Hughes Paddison is comfortable, encouraging and supportive and I knew the culture at the firm was the right fit for me. Hughes Paddison is also passionate about supporting the development of its employees; this was of key importance to me, to enable me to progress in my career. 

Q: How has your role changed since qualifying as a solicitor?

A: I now manage my own caseload, so it is very busy! However, what I have found reassuring is that the firm does not expect you to know it all as soon as you qualify. I am still learning and developing every day (which will never stop happening!) and my supervisor and senior fee earners within my department are always there to support me as and when I need it. I feel so fortunate to have a career that is challenging, varied and provides me with ultimate job satisfaction. 

Q: What advice would you give to a prospective trainee?


• There is no such thing as a silly/stupid question. Keep asking those questions and don’t be afraid to ask them.

• Keep an open mind when you move seats into a new area of law. You may surprise yourself when it comes to deciding where you want to qualify.

• Get involved as much as you can and try to make the most of every opportunity that your Training Contract has to offer.

• Ask for feedback and take it on board, this is how you will learn and develop best.

Emma O'Brien

Meet one of our lawyers who was a Trainee Solicitor at Hughes Paddison, Emma O'Brien. Emma joined Hughes Paddison in April 2019, qualified in April 2021 and is a Solicitor in the Family Department.

Q: Why did you decide to choose a career in law? 

A: I have always enjoyed a high level of client engagement, analysing complex documents and managing a case holding. I studied law at university and always knew I wanted to qualify into the legal profession. I went a slightly longer way about it as I gained 7 years legal/regulatory work experience and studied the LPC part-time. Having transferrable skills provided me with a grounding for qualifying as a solicitor.

Q: Why did you decide to stay at Hughes Paddison? 

A: I was naturally cautious about making the jump to train as a solicitor, having worked in my previous employment for a long time. I knew I wanted to be at a modern and personable firm that would support me to develop my skills. Hughes Paddison ticked my boxes and from the day I attended for my first interview I knew it was somewhere I could be happy and I still felt this way at the end of my training. I wanted to carry on with my career at the firm. 

Q: How has your role changed since qualifying as a solicitor? 

A: In my Period of Recognised Training I gained varied experience in three different seats, one of these being family law which I ultimately chose to qualify into. The experience gained in this seat provided a broad foundation of knowledge and now I am qualified I am able to take on work which is increasing in complexity as my experience grows. I assist David Sterrett so am able to draw upon his experience spanning over 30 years as well as discuss issues with the wider team. 

Q: What advice would you give to a prospective trainee?

A: When attending an interview take the opportunity to ask questions where appropriate so that you can decide whether the firm/organisation is right for you – it works both ways.

It may be that you have already ruled out practising in a specific area of law but end up doing this in a seat. Clients will often need advice on more than one area of law. I have found that the experience I gained in my training which was outside of family law means that I can identify additional risks and give client’s well-rounded advice. 

Amy McCormick

Meet one of our lawyers who is a Solicitor currently working in the Corporate and Commercial Department, Amy McCormick. Amy joined Hughes Paddison in October 2019. 

Q: Why did you decide to choose a career in law? 

A: I decided to study Law at university because I enjoyed problem-solving and I liked the idea of researching a problem for a client and presenting multiple solutions. I am very social, and I knew that a service-based and client-facing role would suit me. I also thought that a career in law would be good for a young woman, the number of female trainees now resembles the actual number of women entering law school and after completing a summer internship at a local firm, I was sure that I wanted to be a solicitor. 

Q: Why did you decide to stay at Hughes Paddison? 

A: I gained a lot of experience during my training at Hughes Paddison and I knew that the culture of the firm suited me. I spent the last 11 months of my training contract in our Corporate and Commercial department after expressing that I wanted to qualify into Corporate and Commercial. I wanted to stay at Hughes Paddison for the team and the people at the firm in general. After referring to myself as the toy koala bear that hangs on to one of the computers in our office, I was delighted when I was offered a NQ role. 

Q: How has your role changed since qualifying as a solicitor? 

A: As I spent the last 11 months of my training contract in our Corporate and Commercial department, the transition from trainee to NQ was not hugely different for me. My responsibilities increased gradually throughout my final two seats and will continue as I progress. Hughes Paddison adopt a training-focused approach and trainees are involved in cases and are encouraged to take on responsibility so that when they qualify, they are confident and ready to hit the ground running as a qualified professional.  

Q: What advice would you give to a prospective trainee?

A: Get as much experience as possible and trust the process. 

Beginning a training contract is daunting, but legal experience will help a prospective trainee at the application stage as the prospective trainee will be better prepared to start training and it also shows commitment to the profession. Other work experience that is not of a legal nature is also helpful. A prospective trainee can learn how a business and office operates and it demonstrates a good work ethic. Although it is difficult to obtain work placements, prospective trainees can be creative. Contacting local firms, attending events to create relationships with firms and offering to shadow and take notes for solicitors is a good place to start. It will also help a prospective trainee to develop their networking skills, which will be invaluable later down the line. 

While training, there will be good days and bad days and tasks that a trainee enjoys and tasks that a trainee finds difficult. As a trainee, the goal is to gain experience and prepare for life as a qualified solicitor. If a trainee works through each day with a positive attitude and aims to throw themselves into the experience to gain as much as possible from their training contract, they should make solid foundations for their legal career. 


Harriet Durn

Harriet Durn is a current Trainee Solicitor with Hughes Paddison.

Q: What experience did you gain before starting your training? 

A:  After graduating from my undergraduate law degree in 2018, I wanted to get some paralegal experience before commencing the LPC. I secured an in-house Paralegal role in insurance litigation where I worked for 8 months before moving to a larger firm as a Private Property Paralegal where I stayed whilst completing my LPC LLM part-time in the evenings. 

Gaining paralegal experience between 2018 – 2021 provided a good basis for learning and developing the skills required as a trainee. Having a paralegal role alongside the LPC was extremely useful in putting the theory into practice and I couldn’t recommend getting that experience enough!

Q: Why did you apply to Hughes Paddison?

A: I applied for a training contract at Hughes Paddison due to the great reputation the firm has in and around Cheltenham. The broad range of seats offered together with the fact I was aware the firm’s training is more nurturing and works collaboratively was particularly appealing, as at the point of applying, I was not yet confident in the area of law I wanted to qualify into.

Q: What tasks do you complete as a trainee and how do these enable you to build experience? 

A: No two days are ever the same as a trainee at Hughes Paddison. There is always something new to learn. As a trainee in the commercial property department, I am involved in a huge range of task, including:

• Assisting with sales, purchases and leases;

• Drafting documents relevant to a particular transaction;

• Drafting completion and financial statements;

• Preparing and submitting Stamp Duty Land Tax forms online; and

• Preparing and submitting Land Registry documentation online.

Always having experienced fee earners on hand to check work and offer guidance has been invaluable. The firm ensure that trainees are very involved with matters and can start to build good working practices. Having direct contact with all fee earners in the commercial property team has been great. My supervisor ensures that a wide variety of work and support is given.

Q: What have you enjoyed the most in your training so far? 

A: I have really enjoyed the ‘hands on’ experience in assisting fee earners with a variety of matters. Working closely with fee earners on matters has really helped my learning and development.

Q: How would you describe the culture at Hughes Paddison? 

A: Hughes Paddison is a firm that values individuality, with a very supportive training environment. From my first interview with Hughes Paddison I knew that this would be a firm that would encourage and support my development from a trainee solicitor and beyond. There is a great network of trainees and paralegals at Hughes Paddison which makes aspects of learning and development much easier.

Working at Hughes Paddison continues to be a pleasure and I am looking forward to a long and varied career with the firm.