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Becoming a Trainee Solicitor

Choosing the right firm for you to complete your Period of Recognised Training will be an important decision.  You need to consider the opportunities to explore a variety of different areas of law, but also how you will fit in with the firm, their ethos and your future colleagues. 

Our Trainee Solicitors are important to us; many of our current Partners and Associates began their career as a Trainee Solicitor here, citing our working environment and career development opportunities as the reason for basing their career here.

Being a Warner’s person

We like to think we’re slightly different from the rest, not just because of our level of service and what we can offer, but because of the people we employ.  A Warner’s person is intelligent, enthusiastic, eager to learn, open minded, proactive and resourceful. We expect you to take responsibility for your actions throughout your training, and you have great opportunities to test and develop your legal and personal skills.  Your responsibilities are commensurate with your abilities and you are encouraged to seek continual innovation and improvement.

In today’s competitive legal market a sharpness of mind and ability to sense and understand the wider economic, political and commercial implications of the work is vital. Our Trainees must balance this with an awareness of what is important to their client and consider the social and personal impact of their actions.

While we understand that law is a serious business, we also realise that it is important to balance the high pressures of the modern workplace with an active and fulfilling lifestyle, and not always take ourselves too seriously. Staff members include round the world sailors, former jockeys, cyclists, musicians and even a few skydivers!

Our stories

Dan Thompson – Personal Injury Partner

I am currently an Equity Partner within the Personal Injury team. I am also Marketing Partner and Trainee Partner for the firm.  I started my training in August 1997, and qualified in September 1999.

I chose Warner Goodman LLP for my training as it was a local firm with an excellent reputation.  My favourite seat during my training was Personal Injury.   There was such a variety of work involved, and it is one department where you really get to know your client.

The difference between a successful and unsuccessful claim can really shape their future, so it’s such a sense of achievement if you are successful in recovering compensation for them so they can rebuild their lives.  It was the opportunity to make such a difference to a person’s life that attracted me to the department in the first place, and that drive has only increased year on year.

Once I had completed my training there was a position vacant in the Personal Injury team and so I jumped at the opportunity to further my career as a Personal Injury lawyer, and one day become a Partner. The firm recognised my ambition and allowed me to exert my independence in the role and was given responsibility early on following my qualification. The ethos of the firm is to nurture and support our Trainees and encourage them to grow and become part of the future of the firm.

Sarah Whitemore – Employment Partner

I am currently a Partner within the Employment Team, as well as an Equity Partner for the firm. I started my training in September 1992, and qualified in October 1994.

I had worked for the Courts of Justice in Southampton before going to University and so was familiar with Warner Goodman & Streat (as the firm then was) as a south coast law firm with a good reputation.

Back in the day it wasn’t as formalised as having specific seats to work through. I enjoyed dealing with employee issues albeit we didn’t have a department or team just dealing with employment law as it was part of a civil litigation partner’s portfolio.

At the time I qualified there was no employment team at the firm. A management consultant came to review the structure of the firm and he talked with me as a Trainee solicitor. He asked what I would do on qualification and I said that I wanted to deal with employment matters but that we didn’t have a team. His response was to either leave and find a firm with an existing team or to stay and help the firm to grow its own. I liked the ambition of starting something from new where I could be influential in the strategy and development of the practice.

I’m now an Equity Partner in charge of a vibrant team delivering employment law services to employers up and down the country. Whilst there’s always room for expansion I have achieved what I set out to do.

Steven Grant – Commercial Partner

I am an Equity Partner and Head of the Commercial Department. I started my training in September 2001, and qualified in September 2003.

My favourite seat during my training was Employment. I spent 13 months there and was confident that I would go on to do it once I had qualified. However, when the time came to qualify there were no obvious vacancies for a newly qualified solicitor in Employment but the firm needed company commercial solicitors. That was my next favourite practice area and I saw it as an opportunity to progress my career quickly because the team was small and needed to grow. I knew that I could play a key part in the team’s growth.

On qualifying I stayed with the firm because of the people that I had met here. There is a really strong brand within the firm – we are friendly, supportive, unpretentious and entrepreneurial. I always found interviews particularly nerve-wracking because there was so much at stake. When I arrived for interview at Warner Goodman LLP the Managing Partner’s first question was, “what team do you support?” having noted that I am a football fan. That instantly put me at ease and I feel that I did myself justice from there on.

A couple of days after accepting the training with Warner Goodman LLP I was offered one with Clyde & Co in the City. I turned them down because I felt so comfortable with Warner Goodman LLP and knew that I would have a better work/life balance. I have always wanted to become a Partner in a law firm and have a management role and I felt that I would have a better chance of achieving that here.

It’s a really good place to work. People really are friendly and supportive. The size of the firm also means that we can truly be entrepreneurial and develop our work the way we would like. We have some great clients too. We have a very wide range of clients from sole traders to multinational companies. I have always learned a lot from clients. The work is very interesting.

Warner Goodman LLP also have a history of promoting people based on a broad and sensible range of performance criteria and not just experience. I was promoted to Associate within two years, to Partner within five years and was made Head of the Commercial Group within 9 years of qualifying.

The firm has always given me the resources and facilities to develop in the way that I have wanted.

Your training

Your training will be as unique as you. Balancing the commercial needs of the firm’s busy departments, we try to give you as much variety and experience of both the law and our offices’ different working environments and cultures as possible, whilst at the same time offering you the experience and training in disciplines of interest to you.

Your time as a Trainee will comprise of three distinct areas of law and practise. You may be asked to work at any of the firm’s main offices, which will give you the opportunity to meet as many people as possible throughout the firm and amongst our clients, and help you begin to establish your own reputation and following. Our Training Partner and you will agree a suitable training programme giving you experience in at least 3 of the following areas:

  • Family Law
  • Employment Law
  • Personal Injury
  • Private Client (Wills, Trusts, Probate etc)
  • Residential Conveyancing
  • Company Commercial
  • Litigation and Dispute Resolution
  • Commercial Property

Your responsibilities will include:

  • Attendance at Court
  • Attendance with Counsel
  • Client contact, obtaining instructions and giving advice
  • Drafting and proof reading documents
  • General office duties and procedures required by the Accounts Department
  • Legal routines and procedures
  • Liaising with other professionals, suppliers and advisers of the firm
  • Negotiation
  • Research using traditional and modern methods

Your support and guidance doesn’t end once your training does. We understand that being a newly qualified solicitor can be daunting, and believe that you are the future of our firm, so we will continue your support and training throughout your career with us.

As you’ve read in the stories, one of the main reasons why people stay with us is the support they receive.

Professional Skills Course

During your training the firm will pay for the costs of your PSC and examination fees and all necessary books to cover the course.

The PSC involves attendance at a series of courses run through the year lasting for approximately 11 working days. It is not envisaged that any study leave will be required for the PSC prior to attendance at any course or any examination.

Social Time and Networking

We are proud of our Trainees and encourage you to play a full role in the development of the firm and to get to know both our staff and clients alike. In order to not only develop your legal experience, you will also be encouraged to participate in networking events and to be an ambassador of the firm, to prepare you for all activities that will lie ahead in your future career.

New Trainees are invited to a lunch in the summer before they start their training where you will be able to meet our other current Trainees. This is a pleasant way of making new friends before your first day in the office.

Our Trainees are encouraged to take an active role in networking events, as well as activities organised by the firm including charity events and sports challenges.

We currently seek to employ 2 new Trainee Solicitors every year. At interview you will demonstrate to us that you have a high intellectual capability, that you are adept at problem solving, have excellent communication skills, that you are a Warner’s person, and understand and show an appreciation of the firm’s core values and ethos.

You will show academic excellence throughout your studies and will have achieved a Degree (whether or not in law) with a classification of at least a 2.i. Your online application must be received no later than 18 months preceding the anticipated start of your Period of Recognised Training.

Interviews are conducted in the Autumn by the firm’s Managing Partner Andy Munden, HR Manager Claire Linney, and Trainee Partner Dan Thompson. You will have the opportunity to meet informally with a current Trainee or newly qualified solicitor to discuss life at Warner Goodman LLP.

We hope we have shown you how we can support you as a Trainee Solicitor at the start and throughout your career.  If you would like to apply to be one of our next Trainees, download and submit our Application Form:

Once completed, this should be returned to recruitment@warnergoodman.co.uk.  


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