From paralegal to start-up trainee

Our latest blog is written by first year trainee Katie Allen.

I was offered my training contract at Taylor Vinters in the summer of 2014, just after I had graduated from university. I had taken part in the work experience scheme and had decided that Taylor Vinters was the firm for me. The people were welcoming, the focus on innovative companies was fascinating and the international outlook of the firm was intriguing. During my placement, I was given interesting legal tasks, had the opportunity to chat to one of the partners about the firm’s international focus and even played for the firm netball team.

After completing my LPC, I joined Taylor Vinters’ commercial real estate team as a paralegal in 2015, which has been an invaluable experience. I have been able to learn more about the work of each department and this has helped to inform my seat choices. It has been an opportunity to get to know the people that make Taylor Vinters the great place to work that it is, as there have been many socials and CSR activities to get involved in. Cambridge and Taylor Vinters felt like home before I even started my training contract.

My training contract has begun with a unique opportunity: a secondment to Taylor Vinters’ very own legal-tech start-up, ThoughtRiver. ThoughtRiver is currently developing software that uses artificial intelligence to scan and interpret information from written contracts used in commercial risk assessments and brings the data alive with visuals.

My role in the team is two-fold. I assist the CEO, who is also a partner at Taylor Vinters, with any legal work such as negotiating software agreements, acting as in-house counsel. I am also part of the “Contract Intelligence” team which helps to teach the ThoughtRiver system which clauses to identify when analysing contracts. As Taylor Vinters supports many growth-stage companies, this has been a fantastic opportunity to get an insight into the start-up journey that many of our clients go through. It has also been fascinating to be at the forefront of legal innovation.

In terms of the extracurricular activities that Taylor Vinters has to offer, I am a member of the netball team and am in the process of organising a firm badminton club. I was also encouraged to join the Cambridgeshire Junior Lawyers Division committee as publicity officer, a role that I took on nearly a year ago. This has offered me the opportunity to meet other young lawyers in the area, help to organise fun socials and form links with local organisations, as well as helping to boost my CV!

Taylor Vinters also encourages and supports its staff to get involved in CSR and charity activities. This year, I organised our efforts in the London and Cambridge legal walks which are in aid of legal charities and pro bono organisations. The walks were fun to organise and allowed me to get to know more people at the firm in both the London and Cambridge offices.

Looking ahead, my next seat will be in our commercial disputes team and thereafter I hope to complete seats in our employment and commercial technology departments – watch this space!

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