Discover Danielle's journey of fulfilling her lifelong ambition to work in the legal profession and her experience of working and learning with Hughes Paddison.
Past Training Contract Case Studies
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.
Meet one of our Associate 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.
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.