My first seat has now been and gone. It seems only weeks since I signed the training contract with TLT and I've already passed the first milestone towards qualification. I thought this would be a good time to reflect and give prospective applicants an honest 'insider view' into the life of a trainee here in Bristol.
I soon realised that TLT expects its trainees to get stuck straight in. In my second week I had already been given real live work to draft a bespoke licence from the partner heading up the Real Estate team. I deliberated over each and every line, keen to impress with my first challenge and in no time I was liaising with the client and putting together the final documents. This is no surprise to me now; TLT really does give its trainees responsibility from day one!
The end of my second week saw a team night out, which was a lively social event! It really made me feel part of the team and it's a pattern that continues to date with weekly opportunities to socialise with a variety of people across the firm. There are regular events including weekly 6-a-side football games with colleagues, numerous trainee social events and after work team drinks.
Getting to know a variety people at the firm is easy so long as you are prepared to get involved. I have also attended multiple social events with some of TLT's clients, which is a networking opportunity as well as invaluable in putting faces to names.
I completed my first seat in the Real Estate team where I was exposed to a huge variety of work from everyone in my team. This is something that has carried into my second seat in the Banking and Financial Services Litigation team. With client contact daily, sometimes hourly, it's key to have good communication skills and trainees must be more than prepared to leave their comfort zone. But this will pay off. The more work I have been given, and the more experience I gain, the more my supervisors trust me with increasingly complex tasks. This helps all trainees develop at a fast pace. The work is real, complex, and interesting – exactly what I wanted from my training contract.
Every trainee is allocated a supervisor. This doesn't mean that your workload will originate exclusively from one person, but it does mean that you have someone to guide you through your seat and advise on all aspects of your life at TLT. With all of my supervisors to date I have developed a great, well humoured, working relationship. This gives me the confidence to ask questions that may seem ridiculous as well as ask advice on any aspect of the job; after all supervisors were once trainees themselves. This invaluable guidance and support is complimented with monthly supervision meetings and end of seat performance reviews.
I have already mentioned the great social life at TLT, and this wouldn't be possible if trainees were expected to regularly work long into the early hours. There are occasions where you will need to stay late but these are often due to exciting big deals or cases involving multiple members of the team. My hours allow me to play football in the evening and catch up with my friends outside of the firm.
I am now settled in my second seat and enjoying the new tasks and challenges which a contentious seat provides. As for the future, I am yet to decide my next seat choices, but I have found that everyone at TLT is more than happy to meet for a coffee or lunch to discuss what a seat in their team entails.
Looking further ahead, TLT has a strategy of recruiting to retain and I hope to qualify with this firm as I know it would provide an excellent platform on which to grow my career.
I hope this gives you a bit more insight into this firm. It can be difficult to decipher which firms to apply to given the all too familiar recruitment websites and law fair stands. If you think the above trainee life would suit your personality then I would certainly recommend applying to TLT.
Sam is a trainee in our Bristol office. He studied Law at the University of Bristol.