Boodle Hatfield is renowned for the high quality of its training.
All trainees are involved in client work from the start and from an early stage they are encouraged to handle their own files personally, with the appropriate supervision. Our trainees therefore have a greater degree of client contact than in many other firms with the result that they should be able to take on more responsibility at an early stage.
Our trainees speak highly about their experiences of attending client calls and meetings, attending court, the level of client contact they have as well as the feeling that they play a meaningful part in the success of the firm through their involvement in matters. Graham Winkley, Training Principal, is keen to let trainees know from the outset that they “are there because there is a job to do that means that [they] are playing a key role in moving matters forward.” We have a fantastic support team that mean that Fee Earners at all levels, including trainees, are free to do the transactional and advisory work for the client. One trainee commented “I have been surprised by how meaty the tasks are.”
Much training happens “on the job”, which means that trainees gain knowledge and practical experience working with real clients. In addition to external training courses, departments run their own know-how meeting sessions and there is also a regular internal programme of seminars (often with external speakers) on a wide range of legal subjects.
We also work with highly regarded training providers to deliver the Professional Skills Course element of the training contract during the two-year training contract. The elective element will always be tailored to an individual’s seat to complement your ‘on the job’ learning.
Mentoring and Development
You will be working with friendly and approachable partners, associates and senior solicitors who are very used to ensuring you understand what you have been asked to do and providing positive and helpful guidance on the job.
In non-Covid times you would share an office with your supervisor, enabling easy access to each other. This arrangement gives you regular opportunities to ask questions and receive feedback, as well as expose you to what the role looks like at partner/senior associate level. We have worked hard to recreate opportunities for learning, development and relationship building since the pandemic first struck. As social distancing means you cannot currently share an office, we have created a Property trainee seating hub and allocated specific offices to trainees in other departments. This maximises the opportunities trainees have to be present in the office should they so wish. In addition to seating arrangements our first year trainees have both a primary and secondary supervisor, maximising the amount of face to face time they can have with a supervisor. We have also given each of our trainees webcams so they can attend meetings face to face, even where they, or the person they are meeting with may be remote. We have also encouraged others in the department to continue sharing opportunities for trainee learning and where appropriate to invite a trainee to join them in relevant calls/meetings or task. Trainees are equally encouraged to seek opportunities within the department too. Trainees are also equipped to work from home when necessary to maximise opportunity and flexibility.
We spend time with each trainee to ensure that they understand how they are getting on. As a trainee you have formal appraisals every three months, which are designed as a two way process. These meetings give you the chance to discuss your progress and to indicate where more can be done to help with your training and development. In addition, the Firm’s Training Principal and HR
Department are always available to discuss training matters and any other issues that may arise.
From day one, you are matched with a ‘buddy’ from the year above who can help guide through any areas of which you are unsure and help you to settle in.
“All the senior lawyers are really approachable. I was interested in a particular seat so an associate in that department set aside 20 minutes to talk about it – they genuinely care about trainees.”
Chambers Student, 2022
“Boodle Hatfield's size and supportive environment means that you feel integrated into each team, and completing four seats in such an immersive environment gives you the opportunity to work closely with a variety of associates and partners, who are all very generous with sharing their knowledge and experience.”
Annabella King, NQ Solicitor
“Everyone was very sympathetic and responsive. I called my supervisor multiple times a day and they were never too busy for me.”
Chambers Student, 2022
We provide an excellent variety of seats to help you find out what which type of law is going to suit you best. Trainees spend six months in up to four of the Firm’s main areas: Property, Corporate, Private Client & Tax, Litigation and Family. Subject to a business need and an interest from a trainee, there is also the opportunity to take a Private Client & Tax seat in our Oxford office. You will complete one if not two Property seats and will complete a contentious seat in either Family or Litigation.
You are encouraged to share your training contract seat preferences with our graduate recruiter before you join the firm. Thereafter, there are regular catch-ups and opportunities to discuss seat preferences. We recognise that some trainees have a clear picture of the seats they would like to experience from the outset, whilst others find that their preferences evolve during their two year training contract.
We must meet the requirements of the SRA and Boodle Hatfield’s own requirements but we are keen to work closely with our trainees to ensure they have the best possible training contract suited to them.
On qualification, wherever possible, we recruit solicitors from our own trainees. The qualification process involves a conversation with HR during our trainee’s final seat. From the moment we have discussed qualification preferences with our trainees we move as quickly as possible to let them know the outcome. We seek to place our trainees in a practice area of their choice.
Retention rates have been between 80-100% over the last few years.
How to apply
Interested in a starting your career at Boodle Hatfield? Read more about the firms trainee recruitment process here.