1. Location Location Location
Ross says: With Norwich being the one of the largest cities on the east of the UK, it hosts numerous events throughout the year and has loads to offer. A personal favourite is the beautiful coastline, which runs all the way from North Norfolk down to Suffolk. You can unwind and relax on the weekend or even after work during the summer time, lay on the beach, or enjoy classic donuts and arcades at Great Yarmouth. In addition, there is also the Norfolk Broads; there is nothing better than hiring a boat with a number of friends and spending the whole day hopping from pub to pub during the summer sunshine.
Chris says: I agree with Ross - Norwich and Norfolk have a lot to offer. The city is full of independent eateries and coffee shops. A personal favourite is the bao bun stall at the market (think Greenwich Market, but much more modestly sized…). There are also independent galleries and music venues where you can always find something interesting going on. The annual Norwich and Norfolk festival is one of the highlights of the calendar. During the festival, you can find comedy and arts shows and drama productions on every street, or simply head out for a night at the Spiegeltent…. If you venture out into Norfolk, there is even more weird and wonderful things to stumble upon. Another personal favourite of mine this time of year is the Corpusty bonfire night. Additionally, Norfolk is one of the greenest and most environmentally friendly places in England. If a healthy environment is high on your agenda, Norfolk is a great place to live.
2. Work-life culture
Ross says: One of the reasons I applied for Mills & Reeve and subsequently accepted the training contract offer was the prioritisation of work-life culture within the firm. Within my individual team, as well as within the wider firm, colleagues are on hand to ensure that I leave on time and to help with my desk management. If there are days where I am required to stay late, these will be followed by days where I leave on time or even earlier if needed. The ability to continue playing sport freely in the evening and seeing friends was and is hugely important to me. This not only helps my own personal wellbeing, but also enables me to remain focused at work.
Chris says: You need to work hard at Mills & Reeve and, depending on the team you are in, you might have a number of late nights. However, there is an extremely supportive and social culture at the firm. There is always someone to play a game of squash with when you need to unwind and, being in Norwich, it’s easy to get to the sports park and head back to the office afterwards if you need to.
3. A home from home
Ross says: I am originally from a small village called Horncastle near Lincoln. When applying to universities, I wanted to go to a city where I felt comfortable. Norwich did that for me straight away and I instantly bought into the Norwich lifestyle. With the infinite number of quirky cafes, restaurants and shops, there is always something new around the corner. A favourite of mine is the Belgian Monk serving solely, as you’d probably guessed it, Belgian beer and Belgian food – the cherry beer is just to die for! This coupled with annual events such as the Norwich festival and Run Norwich makes it a great place to be without being too much to handle. I can also get home in under 2 hours should I need some home comforts!
Chris says: I agree with Ross. It is very easy to adjust to the way of life here. Everything is ‘ensuite’ in Norwich—you don’t need to venture far to get to your gym, the office, the shopping centre or a green park.
4. Variety of work—including support
Ross says: Mills & Reeve has a huge offering of work both nationally but also in the regional pockets in which it sits. I particularly enjoy the fact that in the Norwich office, the firm is dedicated to working with companies and individuals within the local area. On the back of this, there is always new and interesting work which lands on my desk, be it large corporate transactions or simple licence agreements. This variety of work is also coupled with increased exposure; during my training contract, I was given huge amounts of responsibility with complicated work but never felt that I was without support. This variety of work and support provided by members of the team has truly allowed me to develop and hone in on my legal skills.
Chris says: We are spoilt at Mills & Reeve with the variety of work we do and the profile of our clients. I predominantly work in real estate litigation, and the types of work we do and our client base are extremely broad and eclectic. I am often attending court hearings around the country and in London, and advising on niche and complex areas of law.
Chris says: There is a lot of opportunity in Norwich and particularly at Mills & Reeve. There is a good range of businesses in Norfolk, such as Grant Thornton, Savills, and Aviva, as well as a growing hub of tech and start-up businesses. As a trainee or junior lawyer, we constantly attend business events, and it is very easy to start growing your own network. At Mills & Reeve, there is ample opportunity to visit other offices, clients or do a secondment. During my training contract, I did a secondment to a large automotive company. The experience was extremely rewarding and illuminating—as a junior lawyer, these opportunities are key to your development.
Ross says: I agree with Chris. There are large, local and innovative clients in Norwich which provide interesting work. To find out more about life and opportunities at Mills & Reeve, check out the firm’s profile.