After a few months of relaxation over summer, I began my training contract in September 2015 within the Company Commercial department in Milton Keynes.
My seat commenced with an induction day in Northampton, where we were given a general introduction to life at Howes Percival, completed various formalities for HR and were given a look at the IT systems we would be using. It was a good chance to meet my fellow first year trainees again, as well as to gain useful insight from two second year trainees over lunch.
The first week went very quickly and my time was largely spent trying to familiarise myself with the department and the document management system. Thankfully, I had been left helpful handover notes by the previous trainee, which provided a breakdown of the different matters I would be assisting with and the next steps that would need to be taken on them. In addition, the IT team were always on hand and happy to answer my questions.
The Company Commercial team in Milton Keynes offer a comprehensive service, dealing in areas such as corporate restructuring, mergers and acquisitions, commercial contracts and academy conversions. I began by completing small pieces of research, taking attendance notes and handling post-completion tasks. As I progressed, so did my involvement. From supporting the team on large business and share purchases to being given more autonomy on smaller matters, I was given tasks such as:
Drafting letters and emails
Drafting board minutes, written resolutions, Companies House forms and other company documents
Drafting confidentiality agreements and other commercial contracts
Drafting funding agreements, transfer agreements and other academy conversion document
Conducting research and drafting advice
Attending client meetings and corresponding with clients
Outside of the office, trainees are encouraged to develop their “soft” skills. This is done through helping out at events hosted by the firm, such as charity quizzes and other client events, as well as getting involved in business development outside of the firm. I have attended, amongst other things, a charity five-a-side football tournament, business awards and a networking breakfast. These events can be fun and provide a good opportunity for trainees to develop their networking skills.
The first few months are an important learning curve for all trainees and, as I approach the end of my first seat, I can reflect on what has been a valuable and rewarding start to my training contract. I have been able to assist on a variety of matters, developing my legal knowledge in the process, and, whilst there were challenges, the inclusive and supportive environment the firm provides was perfect for finding my feet. I now look forward to starting my second seat in Commercial Property at the end of February.