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Meet The Trainees

We have trainee solicitors, apprentices, trainee legal executives, trainee licensed conveyancers, trainee probate practitioners, and SQE trainees (Solicitors Qualifying Examination).

Trainee Blog

Reasons to choose Wilson Browne

Daniella Afonso - April 2024

After completing my Law Degree in May 2019, I joined Wilson Browne in the June of 2019.  I started within the Higham Ferrers office within the Residential Conveyancing team as an Apprentice. Following this I started my CILEx Level Graduate Diploma to qualify as Chartered Legal Executive following the completion of my LLB Law Degree.  This involved practice units, multiple exams, and coursework but I was fortunate enough to have one study day a week.

Prior to Wilson Browne, I had no legal experience within Conveyancing however, I quickly began to find my feet in the Conveyancing world. I joined throughout the Stamp Duty Holiday due to the COVID-19 Pandemic and so I truly was thrown in the deep end. The craziness of the Stamp Duty Holiday period meant I instantly had exposure to all sorts of complex matters, whilst also building skills and legal knowledge within the field.

As the months went on, and I got to grips with working and studying simultaneously and soon began to excel in my studies and started running my own case load.

I finally qualified in March 2024 officially but completed all my studying in November 2023. The final leg of my Diploma involved showcasing my work through a comprehensive portfolio and case study.

The support of my team enabled me to progress through both my portfolio and case study as I was able to gain exposure and practice in all complex matters.

I am excited to see what challenges I am yet to encounter and what NQ life brings for me!

Chloe Lake - March 2024

After over three years as a paralegal in all (but one!) of our residential conveyancing teams, I started my training contract in May 2023. I am currently in my second seat in our Commercial Property Team.

I graduated from De Montfort University, Leicester in 2021 with a first-class Law degree, and have since completed the LPC at Nottingham Trent University. During my undergraduate Law degree, I joined Wilson Browne as a placement student – the rest, as they say, is history!

In February 2021, my dreams came true when I got the golden phone call – I had been offered a Training Contract. I had not even finished my undergraduate degree at this point, and so it was a huge display of the firm’s faith in my ability and commitment to my future. I was ecstatic!

My first seat was within our Conveyancing team – I had actually earned a caseload as a paralegal prior to this, and so I felt as though I was able to transition well into life as a trainee. I was dealing with files from inception to completion and assisting senior fee earners on more complex transactions.

During this time, I started volunteering with local schools and universities, and began to create social media content aimed at inspiring the next generation of future lawyers. I had an article published in the Business Times, and even ran the London marathon. All of these achievements, as well as growth in my ability as a lawyer, saw me win Trainee/Paralegal of the Year at the 2023 Leicestershire Law Society Awards. I can firmly say that this wouldn’t have been possible without the support of my colleagues.

Outside of the legal world, I’ve competed in pageants for over ten years – something which the firm have actively encouraged by sponsoring me in Miss Universe Great Britain. These endeavours saw me (a first seat trainee at the time!) published in the Times legal bulletin, The Brief, as their Lawyer in Conversation.

I absolutely love the work I am getting to do in our Commercial Property Team, as well as learning from the partners and solicitors in the team. It’s been great to capitalise on my property experience, but I’ve also relished in the chances to develop my commercial awareness and technical skills. The variety of work has been brilliant; I’ve assisted on development matters, lots of lease work, and even some commercial finance for a longstanding client.

I think that is one of the constants to life as a trainee here at Wilson Browne – you are stretched, you are challenged, but above all, you’re encouraged to thrive and create your own destiny with the support of colleagues at every level. I cannot wait to see what the remainder of my Training Contract and NQ life has to offer!

Charlotte Toms - February 2024

I began my training contract with Wilson Browne in May 2022 after being a Paralegal in the Conveyancing team for a year and a half. I am now in my final seat in Private Client, and I am due to qualify in May 2024.

I completed my LLB law degree at Nottingham Trent University, where I graduated with a First Class Honours Degree. During my third year at university I undertook placement year, which helped me to gain invaluable insight and knowledge in to the legal world and helped set me on my career path in law. I then continued to study the LPC and graduated with a distinction from Nottingham Trent University.

My first few years and trainee seat in Wilson Browne, was in the Conveyancing team, which taught me a great deal of transferable skills, which I have carried with me throughout my career so far. I then moved on to my second seat in Private Client, where I dealt with complex Wills, Estates and Trusts and I was able to attend a lot of client meetings. I instantly fell in love with this area of law.

My third seat was in the clinical negligence team, which was a great experience and insight into the world of litigation and I was able to manage my own caseload, which allowed me to see an array of case types and different stages of negligence file.

The last 18 months have flown by and without even realising it, I am now in my final seat, back in the Private Client team, where I hope to qualify in May. I can’t wait to see how my journey continues and how much more I learn during my final months as a trainee.

Emily Griffiths - January/February 2024

My name is Emily, and I am currently in the first seat of my training contract at Wilson Browne Solicitors. I am due to qualify in November 2025.

I completed my LLB Law Degree in 2021 at De Montfort University in Leicester and graduated in September with First Class Honours. I then applied for and completed my Legal Practice Course, again at De Montfort in 2021.

Whilst studying for my Legal Practice Course, I began to gain an understanding of the areas of Law I enjoyed, and further, began to learn the importance of practical experience in the legal profession.

Living locally to Wilson Browne and knowing the name in the local area, I applied for a position as a paralegal in the Commercial Litigation team on a part time basis, to gain some experience alongside University.

I was lucky enough to secure a role in the Commercial Litigation Team and began my journey at WB in January 2022. Working alongside my LPC was both challenging and stimulating at the same time; whereby I gained invaluable experience and learned how to manage my time effectively.

Within my paralegal role, I learned a plethora of skills. I was able to shadow experienced Solicitors and Partners and develop my abilities as a lawyer. I was “thrown in the deep end”, and allocated my own caseload early on, which enabled me to learn and develop at greater speed.

This also allowed me to explore many areas of Commercial Litigation, for example, Adverse Possession, and develop a niche understanding of complex areas of Law.

Having my own caseload and being trusted by the senior members of the team allowed me to gain exposure and develop my client communication and relationship skills, whereby I led my own meetings with Clients and Counsel alike.

I was exposed to a wide variety of challenges during this role including; preparing for Tribunal Hearings; attending meetings; and dealing with high value matters. The experience and value gained as a paralegal within the Commercial Litigation team is immeasurable, and I believe, paved the way for me to succeed as a Lawyer, both now and in the future.

In February 2023 I was offered a training contract, commencing in November 2023. This moment felt like recognition for all of my hard work, both through University and at Wilson Browne.

Whilst patiently anticipating beginning my training, I continued my paralegal role within Commercial Litigation. Upon commencing my training contract, I elected to continue my journey and remain in Commercial Litigation for my first seat.

Although I remained in the same team, the work I am doing has changed considerably, whereby I am now assisting the Partner in the team with complex, high value matters.

The work I am doing is considered complex, no two days are the same. I now get exposure to areas of law that are new to me, including professional negligence and defamation.

Whilst extremely exciting, it was fairly daunting to start my training contract, but the transition has been made so much smoother by my team. The experience and insight gained by working so closely with an experienced and knowledgeable Partner has been invaluable and has provided me with insight into the day-to-day life of both a Solicitor and Partner at a Law Firm.

Everyone I have worked with throughout my journey so far has been nothing but supportive and approachable. My fellow trainees have offered ample support and guidance, as after all, they are all going through the same experiences as me.

The Partners and senior fee earners have also been vital to my growth and development and will continue to be as I progress through my training.

The next 12 months will bring great change, whereby I will leave Commercial Litigation and begin my training in different teams. The greatest challenge I think I will face will be adapting to new areas of law.

Having always worked in a contentious environment, the contrast of working in a non-contentious team will be significant, but also beneficial to my growth as a well-rounded lawyer.

My top tip for future trainees is definitely self-belief. Imposter syndrome is real and something we all experience from time to time.

It is important to remember, you have been chosen for a reason to be a trainee and have an opportunity that many people wish for. It is important to be your own biggest supporter and advocate.

Remember, this is an experience to train, be guided, and be mentored, you are not expected to know everything on day one! This is definitely something I still need to work on.

I am excited to see what the future will bring, but I am trying to live every day as it comes as time does fly by! I am both excited and nervous to qualify and begin my career as a Solicitor, but I know those nerves will continue to subside with the support and assistance from my colleagues at Wilson Browne.

Beth Kay - January 2024

I lived locally to Wilson Browne Solicitors and applied successfully for a job in the New Enquiries team. What a lifeline this job would turn out to be for me.

Each day I took calls from a range of prospective clients who had all sorts of issues and were seeking legal assistance.

Within the first few months of the job, I realised I didn’t want to go back into full-time education and that I loved having my own financial independence, routine, and responsibility.

In addition to this, I was exceptionally lucky to have a very supportive manager who knew I was ambitious and offered me the option of training to become a CILEx Lawyer.

Furthermore, Wilson Browne had never offered this opportunity to anyone who was not a fee earner/paralegal so I felt privileged that they saw potential in me. I remained in this role for two years and then I applied internally for a Trainee Legal Executive role in the Private Client team.

I took my first CILEx exam in June 2016 and managed to complete the first stage (which comprised of ten modules) by August 2018. The good thing about CILEx is that it is all at your own pace and you can choose when you want to enter for an exam.

I must admit that I was  in a very fortunate position of living at home, with no dependents, and with a job that didn’t have the level of responsibility that it does now.  It was therefore relatively easy for me to fit studying around my lifestyle.

However, there are many people at various stages in their careers who embark on the CILEx journey and find creative ways to fit it all in with life and a full-time job. I did sacrifice some social events, and for many years I found May and December were the worst months of the year as they were jam-packed with revision.

Moving on to the second stage, CILEx Level 6, I was in for a shock. These specialist essay style exams required an abundance of case law and many references to statute. You soon adapt to the new style of exams and the additional amount of work needed to get a pass. During this time, I moved into my own flat, and took on additional responsibilities in my job role as by now I was running my own caseload.

I completed the bulk of the work during the COVID-19 Pandemic which presented many problems including a struggle with motivation and a feeling of severe burn-out. Completing this last stage was very challenging and I often felt that I wanted to give up. I successfully passed my final exam in March 2022, submitted my portfolio in March 2023, and eventually qualified as a Chartered Legal Executive in July 2023.

What did I learn over the last 8 years?

There are many twists and turns in life and we don’t always end up on the original path intended. I had always pictured myself attending university and getting my degree so when I decided not to it was very unsettling.

Trying new opportunities and putting yourself out there is the best way to combat this and you could end up loving a job you didn’t know existed.

University isn’t the only route. If you are looking for a career in law, then ideally you need to get work experience or a job in a law firm to start building experience and a good CV. Whether it is an office assistant or paralegal role, getting your foot in the door is the first step.

After this, you need to get yourself known within the firm and network with the right people. Make sure you introduce yourself to the Partners of the firm and take opportunities to attend work social events or take on additional responsibilities in the firm which are outside of your role i.e. volunteering to organise the work Christmas party.

If you are looking at taking the CILEx route then bear in mind it has recently changed its structure and is slightly different to the courses I took. However, the same principles apply and you need to be committed and willing to put the hours of studying time in to succeed.

I would suggest that you identify what sort of learner you are. For instance, I am a morning person and I struggle to study in the evening. Therefore, I made sure I woke up early to study before work and during my lunch break.

I would also set myself targets to make sure I finished my notes by a certain date before the exam. I would then allocate several weeks for past papers and revision questions. This worked well for me, as I was assured that I wouldn’t run out of time.

When picking CILEx modules to study, I would choose areas of law that I either had the most experience in or enjoyed the subject. It’s hard enough studying whilst working full-time so pick something interesting and enjoyable!

Lastly, if you are struggling trying to juggle it all then make sure you reach out to your supervisor or a fellow CILEx student who can offer support. It may be that the firm you are working for can change your hours slightly to ease the studying or it might be that you just need vent to someone who understands. It is hard work to become a lawyer but I can assure you that it will eventually pay off.

Chloe Cooper - December 2023

I began my training contract with Wilson Browne in May 2023 after a couple of years as a Paralegal in the childcare team. I am currently in my second seat and am due to qualify in May 2025.

I completed my LLB Law and Criminal Justice degree at DMU University in Leicester. I graduated with First Class Honours in 2018 and went on to complete the LPC in 2019. I then spent some time as a trainee conveyancer before making the move to family law in 2020.

Starting a new role in the middle of a pandemic wasn’t without its challenges. The whole world was having to adapt, including lawyers. Hearings were being conducted online and we were no longer seeing clients.

However, I learned so many skills within my first couple of months which I will use throughout my career (perhaps more than I would have if we hadn’t been in a pandemic!). That being said, I’m glad things are slowly getting back to normal.

I moved to Wilson Browne in October 2021 and applied for a training contract in January 2022. From the moment I started, I felt like I was part of a community. I could see how important career progression and well-being was to the firm and instantly knew I would love to complete my training here. I felt supported from the moment I stepped through the door.

I completed my first seat in the childcare team, a team I had been with for nearly 2 years prior. I was already managing my own caseload of low-level files but in the very first week of my training contract, I was given a care case to run.

This meant I was in charge of the whole file, including hearings. I think having my first seat with childcare made the first 6 months of my training contract so much easier, I was able to take on so much responsibility.

I am now in my second seat with the Court of Protection team. Whilst it was weird being the ‘new girl’ again and knowing practically nothing, I have picked up so many new skills already.

I have also been able to use many skills I have already developed on the way. I have a real passion for helping those most vulnerable, especially at such difficult times in their lives so I am very grateful to be able to spend some time here.

I cannot believe I am already in my second seat, time is flying by. I can’t wait to see what the future holds here for me at Wilson Browne, University me would be pinching herself!

Gemma White - July 2023

I am currently halfway through my second seat of my training contract. I am due to qualify in November 2024.

I studied my Law degree at the University of Lincoln, graduating in 2019 and completed my LPC while working at Wilson Browne as a Paralegal, over 2 years from 2021 to 2023. Studying part time and working full time, was a challenge but taught me so much about time management and working under pressure.

Working as a Paralegal for 18 months before completing the LPC taught me a lot of relevant skills that assisted me when studying. It helped my confidence and meant I was able to grow as a lawyer while taking the next step towards qualifying.

I was offered a Training Contract in March 2021 to start in November 2023. A complete dream and showed me the confidence and faith Wilson Browne had in me, at such an early stage in my career. Throughout my entire time at Wilson Browne, I have never doubted the faith they have had in me, at all levels. I have felt respected as a lawyer by all my fellow colleagues, regardless of their experience or job title.

My first seat was in the Court of Protection team, I had worked in the team for just over 3 years before becoming a Trainee Solicitor and was given a high level of responsibility and my own case load to manage during my time here. I got to spend a lot of time with clients, and it was a very personal area of law where you really get to know your client. It is also very rewarding as you really get to help those that need it most every day.

My second seat is in Commercial Litigation, I have been here for nearly 3 months now and it is a complete contrast to the Court of Protection team. Now, most of my clients are commercial clients and I spend a lot more of my time researching and drafting. The work can be fast paced but it is important to remember to take it one step at a time. I get to work very closely with Partners within the Litigation team and learn directly from them. In just 3 months, I have been able to develop my legal analysis skills and understand the importance of having your own voice.

I am excited to see what challenges I am yet to encounter and what other areas of law I get to experience during my Training Contract.

Hannah Bayliss - May 2023

My name is Hannah, and I am currently in the second seat of my training contract with Wilson Browne Solicitors and am due to qualify in November 2024.

I completed my LLB Law Degree in 2020. In 2018-2019, during my third year at university, I decided to undertake a placement year to gain some invaluable legal knowledge which I knew would help greatly with my future career. Whilst all of my university friends were asking me “Why would you not just want to finish uni next year?” and “I couldn’t think of anything worse than getting a full-time job and postponing final year”, I knew that gaining as much legal experience as possible would be beneficial in every way and far outweighed simply wanting to finish my degree as soon as possible (with probably no job to walk in to).

Hannah-BaylissI applied for a Paralegal role at Wilson Browne Solicitors for my sandwich year and was lucky enough to secure the role in the Clinical Negligence team and take over from the existing Trainee Solicitor there at just 20 years old! I gained such a variety of skills, even the simplest things (such as drafting letters and communication) were tricky at first and these skills helped me immensely during my final year of university and beyond. I was exposed to such a wide variety of challenges during this role including attending the Royal Courts of Justice, Parliament and Round Table Meetings. To this day, the best thing I ever did was undertaking a placement year.

After finishing university in 2020, I went straight on to complete my LLM LPC full-time whilst working part-time. This was a very challenging time (not helped by having to do it all from home during the Pandemic) yet somehow managed to stay motivated and remained focus on the end goal as I knew the hard work would eventually pay off. After I completed the LLM LPC in the summer of 2021, I noticed that there were vacancies again at Wilson Browne. Having re-applied to Wilson Browne, I was then offered a paralegal role within the well-recognised (by the Legal 500) Commercial Litigation team shortly after. I worked closely and alongside the Head of Team and Partner of the firm and was afforded a high level of responsibility from the beginning. I was exposed to such a variety of cases, skills and knowledge every day which I will never forget.

I was offered a training contract in January 2022, to start in November 2022 just a few months later and it really was such an amazing day, which was of course followed by celebrations at the weekend. I truly felt that my hard work had been recognised and felt like a very valuable member of the team and had been rewarded for that.

During my time at Wilson Browne, I have been provided with a solid foundation of the law and a variety of skills, in a variety of areas which I truly believe will make me the best solicitor that I can be in the future. This has also helped me to tick every box on which area of law to go into, whether that be contentious or non-contentious or private or commercial which is typically the hardest thing for every trainee to decide!

Everyone who I work with has been very approachable and the partners very much operate an open-door policy. Time really does fly by and it won’t be long before qualification. The exposure has meant that I am very well-equipped for this and cannot wait for that day to come, although every day is still a school day and there is so much still to learn! I cannot wait for my journey to continue and I have loved every part of it!

Ellie Tait #NeverGiveUpDay, August 2022

Today we celebrate #NeverGiveUpDay This day is all about cultivating a mindset of determination and it is the perfect day for taking pride in everything you’ve overcome and defeated. As lots of students receive their A Levels results today Ellie Tait in the Commercial Property team reflects on her journey to becoming a Solicitor

Law has always been of interest to me although when I started out on my legal journey I did not necessarily know at that point I wanted to be a solicitor. As a student going to university for the first time, the legal sector can be a minefield. It wasn’t until I was at university learning about the different areas of law and opportunities within those areas that I decided I wanted to become a solicitor.

For anyone not within the legal world, becoming a solicitor can appear to involve going to university, working hard and getting a job. That is however only part of the journey. Becoming a solicitor involves an undergraduate degree, a post graduate degree and a two year training contract all amongst trying to obtain valuable work experience within a competitive field. The journey to becoming a solicitor can at times seem unachievable but it’s important to take things one step at a time and always have the end goal in sight.

During my journey I found it important to keep reflecting on what I had already achieved and overcome rather than focusing on what I had not yet achieved. It can become easy to feel like you are stuck without acknowledging all the hard work and effort you have put in to be where you are currently. It’s important to remember that no two people’s journeys are the same and as long as you know where you want to end up, you will get there in the end!

Ellie Tait - May 2021

I have recently just finished the first seat of my training contract and I think that it is important to reflect back on the past 6 months when it comes to these milestones as you can really see the progress you have made over this time and how far you have come since the start of the seat.

Clinical Negligence

I was both excited and nervous to begin the first seat of my training contract. Clinical negligence was a whole new area of law for me and so I was excited to get started. Although I had been working within a litigation team already as a paralegal, it was interesting to work on cases from a different litigation aspect. This was both in the case of moving from working with commercial clients to individuals and also taking the step from paralegal to trainee.

Ellie TaitIt was fairly daunting to start in a new team and new office but everyone around me made the transition so positive and comfortable for me. I was lucky enough to have a week’s handover with the trainee already in the team which was really helpful. I have found the other trainees’ advice extremely invaluable since starting my training contract and I think it’s great to be able to learn from each other’s experiences. It’s also a great motivation to be able to watch as other trainee’s qualify into teams within the firm!

Being a trainee in the clinical negligence team meant that I was responsible for the new enquiries that came in to the team. I really enjoyed this aspect of my time in the team as it meant I was the first point of contact for the clients and it was great to be able to advise clients that we were able to take on their case for them and provide them with that hope that we felt there were sufficient prospects of success.

Commercial Property

My second seat brings with it change again with moving back to working on commercial matters and this time in a non-contentious area. I am looking forward to seeing what the next 6 months brings.