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My journey has, quite unexpectedly, been what many would consider to be a very 'traditional' one. After completing ...
My journey has, quite unexpectedly, been what many would consider to be a very 'traditional' one. After completing my A Levels at Llandovery College, and much deliberation over whether to pursue a career in music instead, I studied Law at the University of Reading with a music scholarship. I completed my degree in July 2014, and by the following September I was living in Wandsworth, studying the LPC at BPP Law School in London. I started my taining contract at Acuity in September 2015, and I am now a solicitor in the Employment department.
I was desperate to get out of Wales following my A levels, having grown up in rural Carmarthenshire, but one year in Lodon left me desperate to come back. Nevertheless, that time in London made me realise that I wanted to work for a firm that was well respected throughout the UK, working on big deals for big clients both in the UK and further afield. I found that everything about Acuity appealed to me - the high-level work led by true experts in their fields, being churned out of a cosy, friendly office in the heart of beautiful, bustling Cardiff Bay. Who could ask for a better place to train?
Employment was my first seat at Acuity, and it was split with work for Commercial Projects. In all honesty, that first six months flew by so quickly that I hardly knew whether I was coming or going, let alone how I felt about the area of law I was working in - except that I quite enjoyed it. A nine-month stretch in Dispute Resolution followed - where I became heavily involved in a mplex, four-party piece of litigtion in the Technology and Construction Court in London. My role in this matter involved preparing for and attending a mediation, liaising with Counsel, and managing the disclosure process alongside our chosen electronic disclosure platform provider and a team of my peers. Many cups of coffee were consumed! When I started in the department, we were a team of just two, and so I was immediately given a lot of responsibility. Nevertheless, the more I proved I was able to cope with, the more complex the work would become - there was never a case of 'you can't give that to a trainee!' - I learnt new things every day and felt supported every step of the way.
By the end of my time in Dispute Resolution, I knew that I wanted to have an element of contentious work in my career going forward. Following a brief three month seat in Real Estate, I jumped at the chance to return to Employment, which I have found to be the perfect mix of contentious and non-contentious work, with a high level of client interaction. I also particularly enjoy the training element of the Employment practice at Acuity, and have assisted our Employment Partner, Claire Knowles, on various occasions over the last two years with delivering training to clients.
Now that I have qualified, the next challenge for me it to secure a Masters qualification in business, which I hope to do by summer 2018. Having taken up Crossfit in the last year, I'd also quite like to be able to do a pull-up. We're a diverse bunch here at Acuity ...
The journey to becoming a trainee solicitor is, like any current law student or graduate would know, not an easy one by any stretch ...
The journey to becoming a trainee solicitor is, like any current law student or graduate would know, not an easy one by any stretch of the imagination. I, like many others, found the road ahead pretty daunting, to say the least. Nonetheless, if you are truly dedicated to a career in law then you will, no doubt, be given your time to shine. I was handed my chance shortly after commencing my LPC and it was an opportunity far too good to miss.
I chose to study towards the LPC on a part- time basis over 2 years, as opposed to the traditional full-time course. This arrangement then allowed me to work alongside my studies and this is when I was offered a role at Acuity. I began working 3 days a week as a receptionist and legal assistant. Granted it was not a training contract, but it was definitely a foot in the door and I was always grateful for the opportunity. This study/ work arrangement gave me the best of both worlds; I was gaining invaluable work experience whilst, at the same time, gaining the qualification necessary to becoming a solicitor. That said, juggling the two side-by-side was not easy but it demonstrated a commitment that was taken into consideration during my training contract application process.
So what attracted me to Acuity? For me, Acuity is a very professional looking firm with a modern outlook. Acuity appeared to be an optimum size law firm; big enough to attract high calibre clients but small enough to ensure that I wasn’t just another number.
Now having worked at Acuity for just over two years, I can vouch that you definitely feel valued as an employee. The size of the firm, together with its open plan office, helps to promote a community feel and creates an atmosphere that any trainee solicitor can thrive in. Plus, who wouldn’t want to work in Cardiff Bay?
As for the work, it is challenging yet engaging. The four distinct seats that you are required to do as a trainee result in you undertaking a diverse range of work. During my first seat in commercial projects, I was actively involved in a complex 25-year waste management contract with a total value well in excess of £1billion. As for my seat in employment, the work is quite varied- I can be drafting a consultancy agreement one day and be out of the office meeting clients the next. So far as a trainee at Acuity, I have been given the chance to work directly with partners and have been exposed to a very high level of work whilst also having an opportunity to develop the softer skills such as client care.
If you are considering applying for a training contract at Acuity – good choice! What I would say is, do your research. Acuity prides itself on the kind of work it undertakes; commercial orientated highly-skilled projects. It has an impressive track record across the board that is only going to improve as the firm moves forward. Not only should you know about the firm as a whole, you should have an appreciation of the kind of clients they act for.
My journey to becoming a trainee at Acuity wasn't the most typical. Having considered studying law as an undergraduate ...
My journey to becoming a trainee at Acuity wasn't the most typical. Having considered studying law as an undergraduate, I instead embarked on an English and History degree which in turn led to me pursuing a career as a journalist for almost a decade and spells a living in Japan and the Middle East. It was whilst working as a business journalist in Dubai that I decided to study a law degree via distance learning. After subsequently being awarded a scholarship to study my LPC, I 'took the plunge' and returned to the UK to change careers.
I was attracted to Acuity by the wide variety of its work; the sense that it was a modern, growing firm; its straightforward application process and the chance to live and work in a legal centre such as Cardiff. The firm were flexible throughout the recruitment process – allowing me to conduct my first interview via Skype from Dubai. The eventual outcome was that I was offered a position as a paralegal, with a view to being offered a training contract at a later date. Nine months later I was made such an offer.
Having completed my training contract in December 2016, I have qualified into Acuity’s construction department. I can reflect on an interesting variety of work and experiences during my time at the firm. As well as construction, I've had experience in the firm's property, corporate and commercial, and dispute resolution teams. I've enjoyed the traditional practice of changing 'seats' within the firm as it has given me a diverse range of experience: from acting on the sale of high-end luxury apartments to negotiating documents for huge construction projects and drafting ancillary documents on corporate takeovers. At Acuity, trainees are entrusted with rewarding work and invited to participate in client meetings as well as given regular formal training sessions.
Having seen the recruitment process from inside the firm now, I can attest to the fact that Acuity is open-minded about the experience of potential trainees rather than following the narrow criteria favoured by some other firms. Anyone reading this who is minded to apply to Acuity may want to consider applying for a work experience placement with the firm – a scheme which has been a reliable provider of trainees and paralegals for a number of years. But having submitted my own application from several thousand miles away I can attest that there is no single track to a place on the team at Acuity.
My journey at Acuity began in autumn of 2013 as a Legal Assistant in the Cardiff office, shortly after completing the LPC at the University of Law, London...
My journey at Acuity began in autumn of 2013 as a Legal Assistant in the Cardiff office, shortly after completing the LPC at the University of Law, London. Fast forward three years later and I was offered a position as a solicitor in the firm’s Real Estate department.
Responsibility, recognition and support are the three terms I would associate the firm’s training contract with. Acuity is a friendly firm and I would have no hesitation in speaking to senior partners or other fee earners.
The breadth of work I was given as a trainee is what I enjoyed most – at Acuity, you are not just a number and you are not expected to spend all your time in the photocopying room. The more you show you are willing and able, the more you are given. At the same time, you are offered support and guidance to assist you and equip you with the skills for being a solicitor.
I began my training contract in April 2015. My first seat being in the Real Estate department where my role involved dealing with the day-to-day tasks as well as maintaining client relationships by regularly liaising with and reporting to clients. I was also given the opportunity to assist fee earners on large complex commercial property transactions such as the Central Square development.
My second seat was in the firm’s growing Dispute Resolution department. Here, I was involved in preparing detailed and complex letters and emails of advice together with court forms, witness statements and briefs to counsel. I particularly enjoyed having the chance to attend client meetings and liaise with clients and counsel on specific matters. Working in this department also gave me the exposure to advocacy by having the opportunity to prepare for and attend court hearings and mediation.
My third and final seat was in the firm’s Corporate and Commercial department where I was given responsibility at the start, assisting fee earners on a number of acquisitions from the due diligence and disclosure stages, right through to completion.
Here at Acuity we are always looking to expand our diverse team of skilled employees.
We welcome candidates at every level from work experience to solicitors. Please note, all applications must be submitted with an accompanying CV and cover letter and sent to our email or postal address.