The life of a trainee solicitor: London edition

London is the long-standing legal hub of the UK, with ample opportunities depending on your interests. We spoke to Nayomi Skinner, a current trainee solicitor at Addleshaw Goddard, to get the lowdown on training in the capital.

  • Last updated Nov 22, 2018 12:40:06 PM
  • Article Provided by Addleshaw Goddard

A bit about the trainee

What seat of your training contract are you currently in, and how long have you got left of your training contract?
I am currently in the first few weeks of my third seat, which is in the Business Support and Restructuring team—my first two seats were in Finance Litigation and Banking (Real Estate Finance). I have one seat to go before qualification and I am hoping to spend this on secondment to one of our international offices.

Which seat have you enjoyed the most?
I have enjoyed both of my seats so far—they are very different so it is difficult to compare them. Banking is fast-paced and there is lots of client contact which I enjoyed. It is also very commercial whereas Finance Litigation is more black letter law. The typical trainee tasks in each of the seats vary hugely; in Banking I did lots of drafting and project management whereas Finance Litigation involved lots of research and more detailed analysis of legal points. Business Support and Restructuring is a mixture of both types of work, which I am really enjoying so far.

Do you feel like your training so far has given you a clear idea of what direction you would like to take your career in?
As my training contract progresses I am realising which aspects of the job I enjoy (and which I don't!). My seat move choices have become more informed based on the types of work that I want to try more of.

Life at Addleshaw Goddard

What’s the support system like in your current seat - is it easy to develop a working relationship with partners, associates and fellow trainees?
The support in my current team, and in the whole firm, is great—from fellow trainees to partners, everyone is generally very approachable and happy to answer any questions. I have had excellent supervisors throughout my training contract who have shown a genuine interest in my development and have helped to not only improve my legal skills but have also provided assistance with seat move and qualification considerations with more long-term career progression in mind.

In what ways do you get to socialise with other trainees in your intake?
All of the trainees in my intake are in a WhatsApp group where drinks after work are organised most Fridays and because the trainee cohort isn't huge, there is lots of socialising with other intakes too. We have formally organised social events each few months which are organised by our graduate team and the trainee social committee, which the future trainees are also invited to. There are also a number of societies to get involved with, from netball and rugby to our Women's Committee.

How do you manage and prioritise your workload?
Before I leave the office each evening I make a to-do list for the following day and usually revise this list in the morning after checking emails that have come in overnight. I make sure to ask for firm deadlines when people ask for assistance with work to ensure that I can be honest about my ability to complete the task well and on—as my training contract has progressed I now have a better grasp of how long typical tasks take and so managing my own time is getting easier.

Are there any elements to training in London that you would not have experienced elsewhere?
As lots of the large cases are heard in London, during my Finance Litigation seat I attended court many times. This was easier due to the proximity of our office to the Royal Courts of Justice and I think that I probably got to attend more than I would have done compared to if I was in a regional office. In the same way, lots of big clients of the firm are based out of London and so face to face meetings happen more often and are easier to get involved with.

Life in London

What is your favourite thing to do after work as a trainee in London?
I like to go for dinner or drinks with friends—lots of my friends are trainees at other firms and so our offices are close together making it easy to meet after work. London has so much variety when it comes to food and drink so we are always keen to try new places.

And what is your favourite weekend activity in the city?
On the weekends I like to relax, spend time with friends and explore different places around the city—London is so diverse and places only a few tube stops away from each other can feel like completely different cities. London has some great parks and the amazing weather this summer has meant that lots of my recent weekends have been spent there, exploring and picnic-ing.

Can you sum up the city in three words?
Vibrant, fast and fun!

As a trainee lawyer, do you find that there are a lot of other young professionals working in the city?
Yes, definitely—most of my friends from university, the GDL and LPC live and work in the city.

Is it easy to get around the city, and find somewhere to live?
The tube makes getting around very easy (although sometimes not all that comfortable!). Finding somewhere to live is also easy as London is so big but the quality of the flat and distance from central London will really vary, depending on how much money you want to spend.

Nayomi's top five reasons to live and work in London

1. Living in the same city as all of my friends

2. Quality of work

3. Anything that you could want to try, you can probably find in London

4. My family live in Manchester and the transport links makes it easy to visit them

5. High-profile clients


For more opportunities at Addleshaw Goddard, visit the firm’s profile and website.

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