Name: Emma-Louise Henson
Position: Trainee solicitor
Degree: LLB Law
University: Nottingham Law School, Nottingham Trent University
Hobbies: Horse Riding / Eventing and the occasional run (complete non-runner currently completing the couch to 5k programme and enjoying it – surprisingly!)
Current department: Commercial Dispute Resolution (CDR)
Number of TC applications made and interviews attended: Under 10
Why did you decide to train as a solicitor?
I have always been interested in the law and love the ‘problem solving’ aspect of the job. I actually wanted to be a barrister when I first started my law degree but the ability to conduct advocacy as a solicitor advocate, coupled with lots of client contact, drew me towards the role of a solicitor instead.
What were the biggest challenges you faced when trying to secure a training contract?
Spending hours (and days and weeks) completing an application form, only to be rejected at the first sift!
What was the toughest training contract interview question you were asked (at any firm) and how did you answer?
“You put on your application form that you are an innovator, please provide an example of how you have been innovative” – to which I replied, “Well, it looks good on paper doesn’t it?!” and proceeded to give the only example that I could think of on the spot! Lesson learned – read through your application form before the interview and be ready to back up anything that you have written on there.
Tell us a bit about the type of work handled by the department you’re in at the moment…
I am currently working in the Commercial Dispute Resolution team and I also provide assistance to the Commercial Recoveries team. A normal day will consist of a mixture of both CDR and Commercial Recoveries work, which is divided across my own files and assisting the team on their files or on more complex matters. I also find that I get to work on referrals from other departments within the firm; from advising on and running civil court claims to dealing with enforcement action once we have obtained Judgment.
What are the most enjoyable aspects of your job?
I am always learning something new as a trainee and not just about the law. I love that you can learn so much from other people, taking the parts that you like about how others work and adapting them into your own style and making them your own.
What about your job didn’t you expect before you started?
I did not expect there to be so much going on! Life as a trainee is not just about learning the law and how to be a solicitor: it is about getting involved and making contacts, raising your profile, helping other people, being a valuable asset to the team, building friendships, promoting your firm, being organised and so many other things. My advice would be to just get stuck in with anything that you have time for.
Who’s the most recent email in your inbox from, and what’s it about?
The most recent email in my inbox is from a solicitor in another team with an invitation to a charity comedy night in the next few weeks. There are so many opportunities to get involved in different activities; from charity events to networking to gin tasting; in fact, I have just come back from a trip to Uganda organised by Weightmans to support the office charity, Isaac’s House. There are definitely plenty of opportunities!
Where’s the best place to go to get your office’s gossip?
The kitchens or canteen are always a good place to start!
Describe your training partner in three words.
Exacting but fair.
Tell us two truths and one lie about yourself (in any order).
- I don’t like gin but drink it anyway because I am convinced that I can teach myself to like it.
- I did the same thing with Olives… and it worked!
- I used to be obsessed with chocolate so gave it up completely for a number of months and no longer like it.
If you had not decided to become a lawyer, what career would you have chosen?
An architect, vet or a pilot in the RAF. Fairly wide-ranging!
What advice would you give to someone who wants to pursue a career in law?
Get as much experience as you can and use what experience you have to your advantage. Try to make any experience in any field relevant by making the transferrable skills you have gained applicable to a career in law.