Where are they now? Catching up with our trainees
What’s life really like for our trainees and what lies in store after they’ve qualified? We caught up with two of our previous trainees, Aaron and Ashley, to ask them about their experiences during their training contract and the opportunities they have been able to take advantage of at Gowling WLG since qualifying.
Why Gowling WLG?
“When I met the Partners and Associates and saw they were all able to display their own personalities and not be like clones, I knew I wouldn’t have to worry about trying to fit a "type" that people may assume firms are looking for,” says Aaron, who qualified just over 1 year ago. “Gowling WLG is interested in ability and attitude, rather than background. Also, when I reviewed graduate recruitment material and met current trainees, I knew that I was going to be afforded a lot more client involvement than I had heard other firms allow. That really made Gowling WLG stand out.”
Even though Ashley completed his contract three years ago, he still remembers the stand out reason for him choosing the firm. “When I joined, we were known as Wragge &Co. Already a big player, I could still see that the firm was brimming with ambition. It had already embarked on a programme of international expansion, so there was a lot of promise and excitement and look at Gowling WLG now. We’re a considerably bigger firm today than when I joined 5 years ago, however the firm that I really liked, that I knew was going to go places and present me with so many opportunities – it still exists.”
Opportunities are abundant
“The qualification process was very easy to understand,” says Aaron. “Over coffee, I discussed opportunities with the teams I was interested in, and once the firm published a job list I applied for the role I wanted. The level of trust that the firm accords its trainees meant that when I came to qualify, I was not terrified of the step-up and felt well equipped.” Aaron qualified into the firm’s pensions team. He now works on contentious and non-contentious matters and has a varied work load. “One day I am sitting in a trustee meeting, the next I am in court supporting a partner and our barrister during a hearing.”
Ashley qualified into in his last seat which was the construction and engineering team. “Qualifying is a challenge that you need to embrace. Even though you spend six months in different departments, learning starts again when you qualify. It’s all about embracing the unknown and realising that Gowling WLG don’t expect you to know all the answers.”
Treated like a lawyer from day one
“At each of the levels there is a framework of competencies that are expected from trainees,” explains Aaron. “Having a clear definition as to what I need to do to progress to Senior Associate is really helpful.”
The hands on experience and encouragement to progress was also a key factor for Ashley. “The level of responsibility given to trainees was proven to me when I was asked to go on a client secondment for my second seat. It was challenging but I really enjoyed the experience.” As a result, Ashley was able to come back to the firm with a fresh perspective. “Throughout all this the firm invested in me, and took a genuine interest in what I was doing. After all, they want talent to come through so the partners are willing to invest time in the trainees. I’ve been encouraged to progress and have aims. The support provided by the firm helps me move forward with my aspirations.”
Any last words of advice?
“The firm is a very friendly place where people can generally just be themselves,” says Aaron. “There is no need to pretend that you are something you think the firm wants to recruit.”
For Ashley, it’s important that trainees make the most of the two years. “Use this opportunity to meet your colleagues across the firm. Networking like that is invaluable, and you never know when you might need some help. Thanks to the training contract and the breadth of people you encounter at the firm, help or advice could be only a phone call away.”
Interested in joining us at Gowling WLG? Then find out more about our training contracts here.