My first two seats at Geldards have been interesting, challenging and very rewarding. The environment is busy and fast-paced, but the work is always varied, interesting and challenging without being overwhelming.
I started at Geldards in the Commercial Property team in the Cardiff office in September 2016 and moved to the Dispute Resolution team in March 2017. While there is naturally a different feel to the working environment in each team, both have been great places to work and colleagues have always been friendly and approachable.
The work in both seats has been incredibly varied, ranging from legal research and drafting legal documents to corresponding with clients, courts and other lawyers as well as managing my own files, to name a few examples. The firm’s commercial clients tend to have unique and interesting legal problems, which generate dynamic and challenging work. Because of this variety each day is different and unpredictable, which is why there really isn’t a typical day as a trainee here.
Because of the variety and volume of work, when starting at Geldards I quickly learned the need to be organised and manage my time effectively. In each team there are several partners and other solicitors who give you work, so you must be effective at prioritising tasks and managing time, right from the start. This is another reason why the work is so varied, you are working for many different fee earners who each have different areas of expertise.
Team leaders have also been conscious of ensuring that I have been getting a good mix of work. While this tends to happen naturally, it is also comforting to know that those supervising you are actively engaged as to whether you are receiving a well-rounded training experience.
When starting a new seat, you are eased into the work at a good pace, but also given responsibility at an early stage with meaningful work. As your confidence and familiarity with the work builds, so does the level of responsibility you are given, meaning you are increasingly being exposed to more and more interesting (and challenging!) work. This progression is what makes each seat so rewarding, you really feel that you are effectively developing your skills. It is a great feeling of accomplishment when a piece of work that you found challenging, such as a difficult piece of draft advice for a client, is used by the partner who requested it.
What is also really refreshing about the firm is the attitude to work and working hours. Don’t get me wrong, you are expected to work hard, and some days this means staying late at the office when you are busy. But there is no culture of working long hours without good reason. If you are effective at managing your time, going home at 5pm or thereabouts is not all that uncommon.
In short, training at Geldards has given me good quality, interesting and varied work, provided me with a good level of responsibility from the start and a real sense of progression, in a busy but friendly working environment.
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