Partner and Trainee Supervisor, Edward Allan - Boodle Hatfield

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Edward Allan

Residential Property Partner and Trainee Supervisor

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Ed Allan, Residential Property Partner, Boodle Hatfield

Residential Property Partner and Trainee Supervisor, Edward Allan provides an insight into the type of work trainees are involved in during their property seat. As a former trainee, he also sheds some light on how his training contract shaped his career and provides some tips for undergraduates looking to pursue law.

What sort of work do trainees get involved in during their property seat?

I focus on prime central London property and it tends to be high paced transactional work. More broadly, my residential colleagues typically act for international and domestic individuals or families disposing, financing or purchasing high value property in prime residential London areas or work with landed estate owners further afield in the UK. Trainees are given the opportunity to jump straight into client work and often have day to day responsibility for transactions, that can include licences to alter or the more straightforward sales and purchases. They will also assist me with the more complex matters, for example reviewing the search results or drafting a contract.

My trainee will attend new client meetings or join calls to ensure understanding of the keys points from the very outset of a new transaction. The advantage of transactional work is that the trainee is able to be involved from the introduction of the client and see it through to completion of the matter. This really helps the trainee contextualise what is involved, enjoy the satisfaction of seeing it through from start to finish and quickly learn how to approach elements that are relevant on future transactions.

The work is varied, and will include drafting contracts and enquiries, submitting searches, reviewing papers and preparing title reports. The work also requires a more agile approach from time to time, and rallying round as team to complete a particularly urgent purchase for example.

What support and guidance do you provide as a trainee supervisor?

I share a room with my trainee and this really helps us to work collaboratively. And when I am in our Mayfair office, I encourage my trainee to join my meetings, whether that be with clients or networking with intermediaries. At the outset of a piece of work I will spend time explaining the background and what the client is trying to achieve. That helps the trainee find their feet and work most effectively.

My trainee learns when it is important to press on with client work and when to pause, reflect and ask for guidance on the appropriate next steps.

Having trained at Boodle Hatfield, I see the importance of the collegiate atmosphere and the serious approach that the firm takes to nurturing and training its future lawyers. The open door policy means there is always an abundance of support available.

What makes a great trainee for Boodle Hatfield?

Our trainees are bright and engaged. Trainees that really shine are those that have a “can do” and common sense attitude and think ahead to what needs to be achieve the client’s goal. It is very important for trainees to work through an issue and then discuss the key points with their supervisor. This really helps progress client work but also encourages them to really engage with the transaction and to learn quickly.

We are also looking for well-rounded individuals who have interests outside of studying and law, and extend to news and current affairs. Our client base is international and we need to understand how events affect their decisions.

What would you say attracts trainees to Boodle Hatfield?

The quality of the client work and training are the most important factors. We focus strongly on teamwork and this really helps trainees thrive in the training environment. The size of the firm and nature of the client work means, by and large, we all know each other to varying degrees and work closely to provide expert legal advice to our clients. This is abundantly clear by the lawyers who have celebrated, in many instances, decades working at the firm.

It is also a real advantage that we have offices near the South Bank in Bankside, Mayfair and Oxford, as well as an agile and hybrid working policy.

As a former trainee, how would you say your training contract shaped your career?

I now work alongside the same Partner who supervised my third seat in the Residential Property team back in 2012/3. This is testament to the importance that the firm places on the training contract and quality of the training that we seek to provide.  My training contract was the cornerstone of my career and I now take very seriously the responsibility of helping to develop my trainee’s career. However the training doesn’t stop at the end of the training contract! I have always felt enormously supported throughout my career – the formal training contract is just the start.

What advice would you give yourself as an undergraduate?

Start early. There is a huge array of formal placement schemes. These are really valuable opportunities to introduce yourself to firms which often are a direct path to a training contract. Training contracts and vacation schemes have long lead in times, so it is really important whilst at University to factor in the deadlines and to allow time to carefully consider the applications. As valuable is often ad hoc work experience and this demonstrates a determination to contact firms and explore opportunities outside of the more structured schemes. But again you will need to find the time to find the right opportunity for work experience. We appreciate that not everyone can access traditional legal work experience, for those students I recommend making use of their careers service at University and attending relevant events that will further their understanding of the legal profession and raise awareness/develop core skills.  Non-legal work experience is another good way of developing certain transferable skills which will be applicable to a legal career.

Consider carefully if the big corporate firms are the right fit. If potential trainees are reading this then they will be interested in private wealth focused firms, but they may also be considering much larger corporate firms. The real advantage to training at a firm such as Boodle Hatfield is that there is real breadth of work and client contact at a very early stage. The culture of the firm and nature of the work provides an excellent environment for trainees to thrive and gain in depth experience from all the key practice areas.