Current Trainee Case Studies

Current Trainee Case Studies

Current Trainee Case Studies

Roanna Cooling

Roanna Cooling - Trainee Solicitor

What experience did you gain before starting your training? 

After graduating from my undergraduate Law degree in 2018, I wanted to gain some practical legal experience before starting my LPC and LLM. I began working as an in-house litigation paralegal, where I stayed for 2 and a half years. In 2021 I went on to complete my LPC and LLM whilst working part-time.

Once I graduated from my LPC and LLM I secured a role as a family paralegal in a local firm for 5 months, before obtaining my training contract with Hughes Paddison.

Before commencing my training contract, I had the opportunity to paralegal at Hughes Paddison for a short while. This provided me with the perfect time to learn the systems and settle in.

I wouldn’t be the trainee I am today without the prior hands-on experience. It has really helped me hit the ground running and I couldn’t recommend gaining experience enough.

How would you describe the culture at Hughes Paddison? 

Friendly and supportive! From my very first interview I knew I wanted to train with Hughes Paddison, and it honestly felt like a ‘when you know, you know’ moment. Everyone is always willing to help, and as a trainee this is very important because you WILL ask a lot of questions! I have always felt the firm is invested in my development and future career.

There is a supportive culture amongst all the trainees and so you can always reach out for guidance and support from those in the same position as you. We are all rooting for each other to succeed. 

We also have our very own social committee, and the firm encourages everyone to get involved. This really makes you feel part of the Hughes Paddison family.

What advice would you give to a prospective trainee?

Be open-minded, be yourself and ask questions. You only have one training contract and so don’t be afraid of asking questions because it is the perfect opportunity to do so. Remember that the academic and practical stages of training are very different and just because you loved (or disliked) an area of law at university, that doesn’t mean it will be the same in practice. In any event you will learn in any seat you do, and this will help make you a well-rounded solicitor when you qualify.

Joanna Lingard

Joanna Linguard - Trainee Solicitor

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

I have enjoyed every seat and every department I have experienced so far at Hughes Paddison. I strongly believe that part of this enjoyment is the level of depth and responsibility you are given as a trainee.

You are able to work closely with all colleagues from the secretaries and assistants all the way to our Equity Directors. This in turn provides an insight into areas of each department that many people ordinarily would not see and makes for a much more rounded trainee. It also provides you with a more in depth and broad level of training as you are exposed to complex and challenging issues on a regular basis.

How would you describe the culture at Hughes Paddison? 

The culture at Hughes Paddison really is one of a family. There is always an open-door policy and people will always find time to give you advice, support you and answer any query you may have. Everyone wants you to be the best you can be. Hughes Paddison’s approach to this is to support and nurture your individual talents and allow you to be yourself.

What advice would you give to a prospective trainee?

I would recommend approaching training and every department with an open mind. It is great if you have a strong idea of where you would like to qualify but often the difference between academics and practice can be vast, and something you never thought you would enjoy can end up being the area you love.

My primary piece of advice to any prospective trainees is to simply be yourself. Looking for a training contract can be a lengthy and stressful process and at times you may feel the need to present yourself as what you think a firm my want. Hughes Paddison is the strong firm it is because of the unique perspectives and differences each employee brings to the table.

James Burrows

James Burrows, Trainee Solicitor

What experience did you gain before starting your training? 

Prior to starting my training contract at Hughes Paddison, I was a Paralegal in the Employment Department. This was a fantastic start to my time at the firm and I would recommend this route to any applicants for training contracts because it makes the transition into being a trainee solicitor so much easier. As a Paralegal at Hughes Paddison, a lot of the work you carry out is trainee level work which means by the time you start your training contract you already have a lot of invaluable experience.

Describe your experience as a trainee at Hughes Paddison.

As a trainee at Hughes Paddison, you are extremely closely involved in all of the files that you are working on. It is not just a case of jumping from file to file picking up small tasks. Instead, you are right at the centre of the client’s matter and part of the team progressing the key parts of matter for the client. For example, I have had experience drafting witness statements and statements of case on the matters I have been working on. The great part about being a trainee at Hughes Paddison is that you are given a really rewarding balance between responsibility and support.

How would you describe the culture at Hughes Paddison? 

The culture of Hughes Paddison is what makes it such a great place to work. From the very first day you are made to feel welcomed and a valued part of the whole firm. The firm encourages every single person to be themselves and you can really feel that they are invested in every single employee.  

Shaughney Loveridge

Shaughney Loveridge

Why did you decide to choose a career in law?

Initially I had aspirations to become a vet but, when I was deciding what A-Levels to study, I attended an evening talk at my local college where my interest was piqued by the law lecturer. I decided to study Law as one of my A-Levels and ever since then, I knew a career within the law was the one for me. Being able to provide help and support to clients when they are going through a difficult time in their lives is very rewarding as I know I have helped to make a difference, no matter how small.

What experience did you gain before starting your training?

I have taken a slightly longer route than most to starting my training contract. From the first year of my law degree, I knew how invaluable it would be for me to experience the realities of working in a law firm. I have experience of working in several different areas of law including criminal, property, clinical negligence and personal injury. I have also been a family paralegal for nearly 4 years now. I believe my experience not only helped my understanding and success when studying the LPC but will also be vital when I begin my training contract.  

How would you describe the culture at Hughes Paddison?

Starting a new employment can be a scary time but from the first time I attended Hughes Paddison, I was made to feel extremely welcome by everyone here. It really feels like we are one big family. I have made some really strong connections with the members of my team and in the other departments. The directors and fee-earners are always extremely accommodating when I have a query and all the trainees/paralegals are also very supportive and we all want each other to succeed and thrive! I know I can also count on the very knowledgeable administration team to help me.  

Maddie Prior

Madelaine Prior

Why did you apply to Hughes Paddison?

One of my main motivations behind applying for a role at Hughes Paddison is their excellent reputation in family law. I was always particularly interested in this area as the objective of the family law is quite closely aligned with my values and reasons for wanting to become a solicitor.

Whilst I was at university, I volunteered for a charitable organisation providing support and advice to Litigants in Person at the Family Court in Bristol. I found the role challenging at times, but extremely rewarding and decided I wanted to explore the area more. I was therefore thrilled when Hughes Paddison offered me a role as a paralegal in the family department prior to starting my training contract.

I also felt like the size and culture of Hughes Paddison was perfect for me. I wanted to work for a law firm large enough to provide exposure to a wide range of practice areas, but that was still able to maintain a sense of having a ‘family feel’, as well as a supportive culture. From my very first day at Hughes Paddison, I was welcomed as a valued member of the team and this supportive culture, I feel, will enhance my professional growth as young person in the legal industry.

What tasks do you complete as a Paralegal and how do these enable you to build experience?

So far, my role has been very wide ranging and I’m learning new things every day. As a paralegal in the family department, I am directly assisting Jennifer Allen, Director in the family team with a wide range of tasks such as:

  • Reviewing financial disclosure in financial proceedings and preparing schedules of assets for proposals for settlement, Es1 and Es2 documents for court hearings;
  • Preparation of forms required to initiate proceedings or commence the next stage of proceedings as well as statements of information forms for consent orders;
  • Raising questions of the other party’s financial disclosure in the form of a questionnaire as well as preparing replies to questionnaires;
  • Investigating undisclosed assets, which has also involved reviewing Land Registry documentation to determine ownership;
  • Service of legal documents on creditors in enforcement proceedings;
  • Legal research surrounding uncommon legal issues; and
  • Drafting statements following instructions received from clients;
  • Drafting advice letters;
  • Preparing Court Bundles;
  • Reviewing practice directions and case law;
  • Observing client appointments and court hearings;
  • Assisting with the day to day running of files;
  • Booking and liaising with Counsel/ Counsels chambers;
  • Assisting in all areas of case management from the setting up of new client files, compliance, as well as assisting with billing;
  • Uploading and downloading documents to the HMCTS Court portal;
  • General assistance to the family team of fee earners.

The tasks I have been given to date have all been engaging and varied and have furthered my interest in family law as a potential practice area in the future. I am also grateful for the high levels of responsibility I have been given and the opportunity to add value to cases right from the outset of my time at Hughes Paddison. The directors, fee-earners, other paralegals and trainees are always extremely helpful when I have a query and will always make time to run things through with me.

Danielle Screen

Danielle Screen

What attracted me to the firm?

I have lived in Cheltenham my whole life and since deciding on a career of law have heard positive reviews of the firm a number of times so it was definitely somewhere that peaked my interest when I was looking to come back and work in Cheltenham. Once I had my first interview at the firm, I could feel that it was somewhere that really looked after their staff and cared about each individual so it was somewhere I knew I would be comfortable.

Why a legal career?

Since I was around 10 I knew that I wanted to pursue a career in law. Although once I had finished my undergrad and my LPC I felt that I wasn’t quite ready to have my first office job and jump straight into training, so worked in the property department of a SIPP provider for two years before joining Hughes Paddison. This time away from working in law directly confirmed to me that being a solicitor is something that I still really wanted so I started looking for roles within law firms.

The Benefit of being a paralegal before commencing training

I think my time as a paralegal prior to my training contract has been invaluable as it has allowed me to settle in at the firm and get to grips with the way things are done at Hughes Paddison. I would definitely recommend that anyone who is starting a training contract paralegals at their firm before commencing their training contract as it is a much less daunting experience when you are already comfortable at the firm.