Paul Robinson Solicitors LLP usually offer two to three training contracts per year.
Prospective trainees are asked to send in a CV with covering letter to the Practice Manager. We will consider applications at any time of the year.
There will usually be a first and second interview to attend. The first interview will be carried out by two Partners. At the second interview you will meet more Partners of the firm. You may be asked to prepare some answers to questions which we will provide you with in advance of your second interview.
Your training contract will usually cover four seats in different departments of approximately six months each. Seats will be allocated depending on the requirement within the various departments at the time, but we also take into account your preferences and skills.
Annual appraisals are carried out, with a six monthly review to check on progress. During the appraisal process, you are given the opportunity to set training and development targets for the following year as well as personal objectives. The review meeting will then be held after six months and objectives will be reviewed.
As a trainee you will generally be assisting a Partner within each department. You will be given responsibility at an early stage and will be expected to throw yourself into things with enthusiasm. Trainees are expected to be pro-active in gaining the experience that they need and in involving themselves within the department.
We have plenty of support and there is a Human Resources Manager who you can go to at any time to discuss your training contract.
Office opening hours are 9am to 6pm, but you will be expected to work longer than that if necessary to complete the day's work.
In house training courses are provided. We use Lexis Nexis Webinars, which are shown in the boardroom at lunchtimes. Lunch is provided and these have proved to be very popular.
We asked our current trainees the following questions and we have included their (unedited) answers to hopefully provide you with an insight to working here at Paul Robinson's.
Why did you decide to work for Paul Robinson Solicitors LLP?
Because of the wide range of practice areas; because it is a professional and well-presented firm with friendly staff; because it is a well established and reputable firm; and because of its size and locality. Also because the Firm is Lexcel accredited and awarded with the Investors in People standard.
My intention was always to work for a local firm rather than a city firm. It was a case of targeting the best firms by sending my CV to the firms I wanted to work for most. Paul Robinson's was one of the first few firms I wrote to. They had a reputation of being the best in the area and were of a good size (6 partners). The firm also has departments in all the major areas of law so I knew I would be able to receive training in a variety of seats. Also, it is the firm my Dad uses and I respect his judgement!
I decided to apply to Paul Robinson's because it is one of the biggest local firms, offering legal advice in a number of areas. I was interested in Commercial work and Paul Robinson's is one of the few local firms who specialise in this field.
What route did you take into the legal profession?
Combined honours degree, majoring in Law, Legal Practice course and full time training contract.
I went straight to University from Sixth Form to study Law. At the end of my finals I felt I needed to step back a bit and make sure that Law was what I wanted to do for the rest of my life. I did some non-law related office work whilst I assessed my options - and paid back some student debts! After two years I applied for the LPC at Sheffield, but deferred starting for a year so that I could travel round the world. I started the LPC and towards the last term there started looking for a training contract.
Law degree followed by LPC.
How have you been supervised?
In two ways mainly. Either I am set individual tasks to complete on various files belonging to various case handlers and then I return this work to the file handler for review, or I handle files and make proposals to my supervisors and every piece of work is reviewed before the same is sent out. Generally, on a day to day basis, everybody is very supportive maintaining my workload and offering advice and assistance as and when needed.
In Litigation the Partner supervised me directly. She allocated work to me and checked what I did. The other fee earners in the department would then seek my assistance on their files as and when they required any help.
The Head of Department supervised me in each seat.
Did you have any preferences as to the departments you would like to work in and how have your seats been arranged?
I really had no idea which department I would be working in. I wanted eventually to end up in Litigation (despite making a hash of a litigation question at my interview!). I worked in Litigation for nine months, then switched to Conveyancing/Commercial where I am now. I will do one more seat, then I have been told that I can hopefully spend the last few months of my training contract in the department that I finally want to work in.
I wanted to experience a number of departments to get an understanding of how they work in practice. My seats have really been decided by the volume of work as opposed to any rigid structure.
What is the culture like at Paul Robinson's?
Professional business attitudes, with friendly and approachable solicitors and support staff. Well organised, forward thinking people who keep abreast of current legal developments and who are committed to providing excellent client care and serving their clients with the very best legal, commercial and practical advice. Team values are highly regarded at Paul Robinson's.
It is an extremely professional environment. A lot of emphasis is placed on providing the very best service rather than trying to earn as much fees as possible. The hours are slightly longer than many firms, but people don't just get up and leave at 6pm and therefore the hours can be much longer in order to provide the desired service.
Work hard and you will be rewarded.
How have you found the staff at Paul Robinson's?
I couldn't ask to work for a more supportive, motivating and professional team of people.
Previous offices I have worked in have been a bit like school playgrounds, with the bickering, arguments, gossiping etc, but there is none of that here. Everyone seems to get on with everyone in a professional manner. There are always people in each department who are happy to provide any help and advice you may need. Probably the best tip for a trainee I could give is to find out who the helpful people are.....and be nice to the secretaries as their help and knowledge is invaluable!
Extremely pleasant and helpful.
How does working under a training contract compare to your expectations?
I have a lot more responsibility than I thought I would have. At Paul Robinson's I feel like I have been part of the team from my first day.
I honestly never really had any pre-conceptions so it hasn't really conflicted with any expectations. My biggest worry was that despite the knowledge I had acquired during the course of my studies, my practical knowledge would be lacking (especially as I had not worked in a law office before). However, I immediately felt comfortable due to the staff and in particular my principle/training partner. It was never a case of being thrown in at the deep end, which was a relief. The work got progressively harder and after a short while you find yourself running files without realising it!
Most of the training contract literature is from the bigger firms who offer six month rotating seats and who take on a vast number of trainees. I knew that this would not be the case at Paul Robinson's and so I did not have any expectations and simply was looking forward to my training and hoping to learn as much as possible from it.
What department have you enjoyed the most so far?
This is a really difficult question to answer. I really enjoyed my time in Family, but I think I prefer Litigation at the moment, because Litigation covers a vast area of topics and the variation is very interesting.
I've only completed one seat so far, being Litigation, which is what I ultimately wanted to do. It is completely different to Conveyancing, but so far I have enjoyed the Conveyancing side more than I suspected I would!
Family as I have had a more defined role with the best supervision and feedback. I have also been involved with big cases, which has been particularly rewarding.
What are the advantages of Paul Robinson's over other local firms?
It is a well established, yet modern practice with a professional outlook. Training at Paul Robinson's provides the opportunity to work with people with a wide range of experience, some of whom are probably the most experienced in the area.
It places high demands on its staff to produce highest quality service to its clients. This ensures that the training you receive is also high quality so that you can meet these demands. The way each department is broken up makes it feel like you are part of a team and everyone is happy to help each other on any matters, even if it is not a matter they are dealing with.
A very professional organisation offering specialist legal advice to commercial and private clients, whilst maintaining a strong public funding base in Family and Criminal Law. Most other local firms do not offer advice over so many fields and very few can match the strength of our Property, Family and Litigation departments.
Working at Paul Robinson's is not for the half hearted. Office hours are 9am-6pm and you need to be committed to the business in order to reap the best experience and benefit from the wide opportunities offered from one of the leading firms in the area.
The hours are longer than most local firms, but given the nature of the work, even if they were shorter, people would still probably stay later to get all of the work done!
None immediately apparent.