Name: Alice Wooler
Firm: Woodfines Solicitors
Position: Trainee solicitor
Degree: LLB Law
University: Aberystwyth University
Hobbies: Running, swimming, theatre
Current department: Crime and Regulatory
Number of TC applications made and interviews attended: Under 10
Why did you decide to train as a solicitor?
There were a variety of resources which helped me research legal careers and ascertain that the decision to train as a solicitor was the right one for me. Work experience was of course a big factor, as was my university’s career service, law fairs and social media.
Overcoming the challenges that working as a solicitor presents, as well as constant client interaction and genuine sense of reward aren’t something you can find in many jobs. I was lucky enough to experience some of these from a young age which encouraged me to pursue a career as a solicitor.
What were the biggest challenges you faced when trying to secure a training contract?
With so much tough competition for a small number of places these days, the biggest challenge was trying to stand out from the crowd. You have to be at the top of your game in terms of the written application, and the interview process. It helps to remember that being different isn’t necessarily a bad thing.
What was the toughest training contract interview question you were asked (at any firm) and how did you answer?
The toughest questions I found in an interview where often the most simple. I was asked the standard question ‘What is your favourite book.’ My favourite book is in fact ‘To Kill a Mockingbird,’ however, I had previously been told that this along with ‘Harry Potter’ are the two most given answers. As a result, I chose a book which I wasn’t as enthralled with and when the follow up questions came I mumbled a lot!
Following this experience, I would always advise not to second guess the interviewer, give an honest answer and you are more likely to come across as confident and genuine. It’s not all about the answer given, but also the way that is backed up and delivered that counts.
Tell us a bit about the type of work handled by the department you’re in at the moment…
The remit of the Crime and Regulatory department is extremely diverse, with new clients being introduced on a daily basis bringing with them a variety of interesting cases.
To date, I have been involved in licensing issues, education proceedings, health & safety concerns, preparing for public inquiries before the Traffic Commissioner, and matters dealt with in both the Crown and Magistrates’ Court. There’s never a boring day!
What are the most enjoyable aspects of your job?
The sense of achievement you receive when a very welcome result on a case comes in. Nothing beats receiving thanks from a happy client!
What about your job didn’t you expect before you started?
The constant support and encouragement that Trainees are provided with. We have been nominated a supervisor to work closely with throughout our seat, a mentor system has been set up with monthly meetings to provide a channel for discussion of our progress and we are also constantly encouraged to ask questions to address any issues we have.
Who’s the most recent email in your inbox from, and what’s it about?
An email for our marketing department reminding us about the Trophy Presentation for the Milton Keynes Half Marathon. Each year the firm sponsors the event which raises funds for the NSPCC. With lots of interest and support, it proved to be a great day and allowed us to socialise with colleagues in a different environment.
Where’s the best place to go to get your office’s gossip?
Describe your training partner in three words.
Supportive, astute, perceptive
Tell us two truths and one lie about yourself (in any order).
- I once threw myself off of a mountain in the French Alps (with a paragliding canopy on my back!)
- I have swum the English Channel
- I used to work on a farm
If you had not decided to become a lawyer, what career would you have chosen?
What advice would you give to someone who wants to pursue a career in law?
Research into the firm before applying, this will not only benefit your application, but in a generation where they may seem like gold dust, it is all too easy to apply to every law firm and pick the first one offered. Instead it is vital you find a placement which is right for you.