The lowdown (in their own words...)
If the firm were a fictional character it would be...
Newcastle-headquartered Ward Hadaway’s ‘commitment to the north of England’ appeals to trainees, and for those keen to work in the area the firm’s ‘excellent regional reputation’ is bolstered by its ‘large national and international clients’. Respondents report taking on ‘interesting and challenging work’ of ‘great quality’, and some favourite moments so far include ‘attending two trials’, ‘completing my first transaction in property’ and ‘being given claim forms in my employment seat and being allowed to run the claim from start to finish’. Many recent recruits had a relationship with the firm prior to commencing their training contract, indicated by the following feedback: ‘I worked at Ward Hadaway as a paralegal and enjoyed the working environment’, ‘I received a scholarship from the firm during university’ and ‘I did lots of work experience here which I really enjoyed’. This all points to a firm with a ‘great working atmosphere’ that encourages a ‘friendly, open, and supportive culture’. Though trainees are ‘able to give preferences about seats even in the first year’, these aren’t necessarily reflected in seat allocation. ‘Occasional long hours’ can mean ‘dealing with a deadline for a court bundle late at night’ and ‘1.30am finishes’, though the ‘high-quality supervision’ ensures that trainees don’t get stressed out and also aren’t given admin tasks ‘unless absolutely necessary’. There is a feeling that ‘the integration could be better’, as ‘departments are fairly autonomous’ and ‘propagate different cultures across the firm’, however one trainee feels that the latter point has its advantages in catering for ‘different trainee personalities’. To train at a ‘well-respected firm’ which can offer ‘great exposure to good quality work and clients’, apply to Ward Hadaway.
A day in the life of...
Michelle Fleming trainee
My day starts at 8.00am as I am attending the Ward Hadaway employment breakfast seminar. As a trainee in the employment team, I assist the team by greeting clients who attend the seminar. Earlier in the week, I helped prepare the presentation for the seminar by reading numerous judgments and creating a slide show. Seminars are a really good way for me to gain networking experience, as well as being able to observe the presentation skills of the team that has been doing it for many years.
Once the seminar is over I go to my desk, we are having a 'Bake Off' competition in the team so I have a mid-morning slice of cake before discussing a new claim with my supervisor. Our client made a flexible working request after maternity leave but it was refused and she was unable to go back to work. She initially hoped that she may have a claim for unfair dismissal but it becomes apparent that she also has a sex discrimination claim.
The client’s dates of employment aren't clear so my supervisor suggests that I call the client to confirm. I make the call to the client and introduce myself. Making the call is a great opportunity to create a relationship with the client and I give her my contact details should she wish to discuss anything else. My next task is to draft the claim form. It is important that the claim form puts our best case forward, so I must ensure that I don’t miss anything. It is the first time I have drafted a claim so it is great drafting experience and to help my supervisor provides me with examples of claim forms he has done previously to help me with the format.
At midday I give my first draft of the claim form to my supervisor for review and then go to lunch. Newcastle Quayside has an artificial beach in the summer; I sit there with some of the other trainees. Being able to put your feet in the sand at lunch is quite unique!
I return to the office at 1.00pm and attend a client meeting with one of the partners. While I have one supervising partner, I tend to assist anyone that I can within the team, which gives me a broad variety of work. I am regularly invited to client meetings or tribunal hearings to gain experience.
Before we go into the meeting the partner gives me a brief background to the client’s business and why they have made an appointment with us. During the meeting the client explains that they are shifting their focus onto different objectives due to a change in government funding, therefore some roles may be made redundant. Their business organisational structure will be changing. I find it really interesting to look at the organisational chart and to consider how to change it in the most effective way. The client wants to ensure that they follow the correct legal process in selecting roles for potential redundancy; we also discuss how to notify potentially affected employees and how it could affect morale once they are notified.
The meeting gives me a good insight into the client's business, and causes me to think ahead for any potential problems that could arise and how they could be tackled. There is quite a lot of information for the client to take in so we tell the client we will send an email confirming what has been discussed in the meeting.
The meeting ends at 4.00pm, I then begin drafting the advice email to the client and forward it to my supervisor for review. He provides immediate feedback so that I can send it out.
I leave the office at 5.30pm after a productive day, tonight I am playing netball for the firm and tomorrow I have a negotiation regarding equal pay claims to look forward to.
About the firm
Address:Sandgate House, 102 Quayside, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE1 3SZ
Telephone: 01912 044000
Managing partner : Jamie Martin
Other offices: Manchester and Leeds.
Who we are: Ward Hadaway is one of the UK’s Top 100 law firms and a major player in the North of England with offices in Newcastle, Leeds and Manchester.
What we do: The majority of out work is commercial and we have a range of clients – including individuals, entrepreneurs, start-ups, SMEs, fast growing companies, large companies, high-profile PLCs and international businesses from across all industries. As a full-service commercial firm there are opportunities to get involved in a range of business areas, from handling private matters in the family arena, right through to M&A and corporate finance activity.
What we are looking for: We want to recruit people whose ambitions match our own – to provide the highest quality legal advice. It is critical we recruit talented people with the right mix of competencies, skills, attitude and motivation. We welcome diversity and, as well as strong academics, we are looking for range of other skills and attributes including excellent interpersonal and communication skills, commercial awareness and business acumen.
What you'll do:We aim to support and develop our trainees through every day of the training contract, from induction to qualification.
All our trainees are given a comprehensive one-week induction programme to help them get to grips with the technical side of things, like our systems and processes, but also the chance to meet each other and key individuals within the firm such as the managing partner and training principal. All new trainees are given a second-year trainee 'buddy' to provide them with support and to share experiences.
Trainees are given a structured training and development programme, including regular informative seminars and continued education through the PSC, to fully equip them with the skills they need to become qualified lawyers. Trainees will undertake four six-month seats. During each seat they will be given with a supervisor who oversee their development and delegate work to them, giving regular informal feedback. Trainees also receive formal mid and end-of-seat reviews based on the SRA standards they need to meet.
Perks: Competitive salary; 25 days holiday (with an option to buy additional days) plus statutory bank holidays; group personal pension plan with employer contributions; flexible benefits including health/dental cover, child care vouchers, insurance and discounted shopping; life assurance; interest-free season ticket loans for travel; funding for the GDL/LPC (including a maintenance grant); and membership to the JLD or equivalent.
Sponsorship:GDL/LPC tuition fees and maintenance grant.
Facts and figures
Trainee places available for 2019: 20
Applications received pa: circa 500
Percentage interviewed: 20%
First year: £24,000
Second year: £26,000
Newly qualified: £36,000
Total partners: Over 80
Total staff: Over 450
Apply to:Graduate recruitment team
How: Apply online
When to Apply:By 30 June 2017 for 2019 contracts
What’s involved:Online application form to detail academics and work experience, and some longer answer questions.
Summer:June/July 2017. Deadline 28 February 2017