From Paralegal to Trainee

Our latest blog is written by Mary Peachey a first year trainee. Prior to commencing her training contract in September 2015 Mary was a Paralegal in our Commercial Technology Team.

I graduated from university in 2009 during the height of the “Great Recession” surrounded by horror stories of training contracts being deferred and revoked due to the uncertainty of the economic climate. Rather than skipping out of university and straight on to the LPC, I plodded out fearing I would never get the training contract of my dreams and contemplating ghastly LPC fees.

After a couple of months of working in a trendy designer clothes store, I soon realised my passion was for law (not even the staff discount could sway me!) and I joined a local law firm as a legal assistant.

Fast forward another couple of years, and I was studying the LPC part time on Saturdays at BPP in Cambridge and I had joined Taylor Vinters as a paralegal in the Commercial Technology Team.

I had discovered an interest in IP law having chosen it as an elective on the LPC and the Commercial Technology Team helped further develop this interest. As a paralegal, I was supporting one of the firm’s key clients; an international software and services provider based in the US. A typical day would involve reviewing two or three service contracts, performing international negotiations and liaising with the client’s in-house legal team.

Whilst working as a paralegal at Taylor Vinters, I was able to speak to the firm’s trainees about their experiences and I soon realised that I also wanted to train at Taylor Vinters. I successfully applied for a training contract and before I knew it, I was starting my training contract in September 2015.

I had thoroughly enjoyed my time as a paralegal. I had been able to work independently and manage my own caseload whilst being encouraged to develop my legal knowledge and skills. Although I felt ready to become a trainee solicitor, I was still incredibly nervous – would I cut the mustard? Would my supervisors expect me to know everything already given I had been a paralegal in the firm? Would I seem really old as I had not taken the “conventional route”?

In hindsight these were all unnecessary concerns. If anything, being a paralegal was a useful platform for developing the skills I use on a daily basis and enhancing my overall commercial awareness.

I am now approaching the end of my first year as a trainee and I have undertaken seats in the Commercial Real Estate Team, the Commercial Technology Team and the Corporate Team. The work has been really hands on throughout all of my seats (such as assisting on the sale of a company for over £6 million), I have been given plenty of responsibility (such as my own files to manage in the Commercial Real Estate Team) and I have expanded my knowledge in these areas of law (I can competently draft a licence for access to undertake an archaeological evaluation!).

I knew the moment I walked through the door that Taylor Vinters was where I wanted to work, everyone is so incredibly friendly and there is a real buzz about the place. The firm is progressive, dynamic and encourages personality. I now look forward to embracing my final few seats and qualifying as a solicitor in the not too distant future.

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