The lowdown (in their own words...)
Why did you choose this firm over any others?
‘Commercial law firm with a range of areas to gain experience in’; ‘I wanted to challenge myself and work for one of the biggest and most successful regional firms’; ‘I particularly wanted to work in Newcastle’; ‘I gained a scholarship with the firm whilst at university and having gained two months’ work experience, I couldn’t imagine working at any other firm’
Best thing about the firm
‘Great working atmosphere’; ‘the input into my training and the assistance with my overall development’; ‘everyone is friendly and approachable’; ‘its personality’; ‘that it is so down to earth – everyone accepts you for who you are, regardless of where you come from’; ‘they listen to your ideas’; ‘the people are committed to providing the best service for clients’
Worst thing about the firm
‘Limited opportunities to see trainees in other offices’; ‘lack of good coffee machines’; ‘no international secondment opportunities’; ‘a little bit old fashioned at times’; ‘occasional long hours’; ‘the price of quayside parking’; ‘some areas of the office could use a little updating’; ‘it can be quite procedural to do something fairly basic like requesting a cheque or booking a holiday!’
‘Being given some files to run on my own’; ‘being asked to go on secondment where I gained a wealth of commercial experience’; ‘assisting on a large completion in corporate’; ‘attending a court trial in the Royal Courts of Justice’; ‘client meetings’; ‘preparation for a fact-finding hearing’; ‘the amount of client contact I have had with a major client’
‘Staying late to get a contract finalised, although this is extremely rare’; ‘the feeling that six months in a seat is not enough!’; ‘bundling’; ‘messing up drafting’; ‘preparing a chronology of events for a case that has been going on for years’; ‘photocopying original medical records’; ‘checking page numbers on bundles’; ‘due diligence. Endless due diligence’
If the firm were a fictional character it would be...
Top 100 UK firm Ward Hadaway has offices in Newcastle, Leeds and Manchester. Established in 1988, the firm has undergone consistent and considerable growth. Ward Hadaway has a substantial client base of regional, national and international clients from the private and public sectors and also looks after the personal interests of numerous private individuals.
The star performers
Banking and finance; Charities and not-for-profit; Clinical negligence: defendant; Commercial litigation; Commercial property; Corporate and commercial; Crime: general; Debt recovery; Education; Employment; Energy; Environment; EU and competition; Family; Health; Insolvency and corporate recovery; IT and telecoms; Licensing; Local government; Personal tax, trusts and probate; Planning; Property litigation.
Acted for Virgin Money on the development and implementation of a cloud-based mortgage application system; advised Frank Recruitment Group on the tax elements of its sale to TPG Group; advised Tees, Esk and Wear Valleys NHS Foundation Trust in litigation relating to the closure of Bootham Park Hospital in York; handled the academy conversion of six foundation schools for the Brigshaw Learning Partnership; advised Bannatyne on an agreement with Sky to provide Wi-Fi services to Bannatyne Hotels.
Asda; Business Travel; Chargepoint Technology Holdings; Co-operative Group; Energizer; NEL Fund Managers; Northern Powergrid; Nourish Training; Total Capital Partners; True Potential.
Ward Hadaway has offices in Newcastle, Leeds and Manchester, and has earned a 'great reputation as a regional firm' that is 'fully committed to the North'. Those who undertook the vacation scheme and work experience placements before commencing the training contract recalled the 'very friendly people and an enjoyable working environment'. This 'great working atmosphere' continues to be evident, as the 'partners are very approachable and friendly' while 'the great trainee social life is encouraged by the fun, friendly and easy-going intakes'. There is a 'wide range of areas to gain experience in' at this 'full-service firm', and work highlights have included 'attending and assisting at a week-long final hearing at an employment tribunal', 'completing my first property deal' and 'attending a round table meeting and observing the discussions and negotiations between parties'. The feedback suggests that the firm as a whole could be better integrated, as 'each department is an island' and there are 'limited opportunities to see trainees in other offices'. One Newcastle-based trainee mentions last year's disappointing retention figures, and adds that, currently, 'the confidence of retention, especially with the Brexit result, is not particularly high'. We are told that 'Ward Hadaway has a proper training structure in place' which includes 'a lot of supervisor contact and input from senior members of the team on a regular basis', ensuring an 'overall well-rounded training experience'. This no doubt contributed to the firm being named a Lex 100 Winner for job satisfaction this year. To train at a firm with a 'very proud Northern ethos' and a 'commitment to providing the best service to clients', look no further than Ward Hadaway.
A day in the life of...
Mona Mojtabavi second-year trainee, Ward Hadaway
Previous Seats corporate, employment, commercial litigation
University: LLB Exempting Degree at Northumbria University
My day starts at 7:45am as I am attending a seminar on the General Data Protection Regulation at another law firm in Manchester. Ward Hadaway really encourages trainees to attend these kind of events as they are great for networking and building business connections early on in your career, as well as keeping on top of legal developments. On a weekly basis, we get emails from the marketing department informing us of such events and we are encouraged to sign up if there is anything of interest.
Once the seminar is over, I make my way to the office and arrive around 10:00am. As a trainee in the Employment team at the Manchester office, I work with one partner and one solicitor. I am currently working on a matter where our client is defending a wide-ranging employment claim. I have previously attended mediation for the case with my supervisor which was a great opportunity for me to observe negotiation of a settlement by my supervisor as well as sit in on a mediation.
I am currently creating an index of the client's documents for disclosure to the other side and drafting letters of instructions for medical experts. For the index, I have been in close contact with the client to ensure that we have a copy of all of the relevant correspondence and have used a template index to help me with the format. Once finalised, I send this to my supervisor for review before I email it out to the client for a final check. I then make a start on the letters of instruction. We are instructing a cardiologist and a psychiatrist expert. It is the first time that I am drafting a letter of instruction for an expert so this is great drafting experience for me. It is important that the right questions are put to the expert to answer in his final report as this could help our client in defending the Claimant's disability claim at the material time.
The Employment team also offer immigration advice to businesses. Around midday, the solicitor provides me with the contact details of a new client and suggests that I call the client to get more information regarding her case before we open a client file. I call the client and introduce myself. The call acts as an initial interview and I try to ask as many questions in order to gain an insight into the issue and ascertain the key dates. This immigration issue is in relation to a family visa. I find this area of immigration to be quite personal and sometimes distressing for a client and I have learnt to deal with them tactfully and in a personable manner.
Around 1:00pm I leave the office for lunch. The Manchester office is in the city centre so there are lots of different lunch options available and it's always handy for any last minute shopping!
I return to the office around 1:45pm. Due to the size of the Manchester office, it is expected that you may be asked to assist another department depending on your availability and schedule. From time to time I assist the Corporate department on various matters. This has meant that I have to organise my time effectively to meet various deadlines. On my return, a Corporate Partner tells me that I am attending a completion meeting tomorrow afternoon in London at the client's office.
I start the afternoon with compiling and organising the documents in a binder for the completion meeting to take with us to London. From past experiences, I have learnt that it is best to organise the documents effectively and use colour tabs for the various signatures required. This ensures that the meeting goes smoothly and there are no missing signatures at the end of the day!
I leave the office around 6:00pm after a busy day. Tonight I have to pack an overnight suitcase for my trip to London tomorrow.
About the firm
Address:Sandgate House, 102 Quayside, Newcastle Upon Tyne, NE1 3DX
Telephone: 0161 837 3810
Total partners: Over 80 partners
Other fee-earners: 200
Total trainees: 26
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: We have a substantial client based of regional, national and international clients from the private and public sectors, as well as looking after the personal interest of private individuals. We offer a full range of legal services to clients across the private and public sectors as well as bespoke advice to individuals.
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); Membership to the JLD or equivalent.
Sponsorship: GDL/LPC tuition fees and maintenance grant.
Facts and figures
Training contracts available for 2019: 20
Applications received pa: circa 500
Percentage interviewed: 20%
First year: £24,000
Second year: £26,000
Newly qualified: £36,000
Apply to: Graduate recruitment team
How: Apply online
When to Apply: By 30 June 2018 for 2020 contracts
What’s involved: Online application form to detail academics and work experience, and some longer answer questions.
Summer: June/July. Apply by 28 February 2018