James Pearson, Trowers & Hamlins

Name: James Pearson

Firm: Trowers & Hamlins

Position: Trainee solicitor

Degree: Law LLB

University:  Edge Hill University

Hobbies: Rugby, golf, TV show binge

Current department: Commercial Property (4th Seat)

Number of TC applications made and interviews attended: 6/5

Why did you decide to train as a solicitor?

I originally wanted to be a barrister (which is why I read law at university) but then after a few mini-pupillages and a broader experience working in commercial law, it became clear that I should train as a commercial solicitor.

I have an interest in business and commerce generally and had also worked in the public sector for a number of years. When reviewing training contract options, Trowers, with its mix of public sector and private sector work was a no brainer to train at.

What were the biggest challenges you faced when trying to secure a training contract?

Balancing a job, studies and various other commitments while also going through the training contract process was difficult and probably the biggest challenge. I also found it very tiring – taking holidays from the regular job to go for vacation schemes and interviews at law firms meant no days off for a long time.

What was the toughest training contract interview question you were asked (at any firm) and how did you answer?

James Pearson, Trowers & HamlinsHow many aeroplanes are there in the world?

I had actually seen this question before in the preparation that I had done for the interview and so I knew how to answer it. Without giving too much away it is all about the application of logic. The numerical answer doesn’t really matter, it is how you get to your conclusion and how you handle that style of questioning that is important.  

Tell us a bit about the type of work handled by the department you’re in at the moment…

The Commercial Property team in Manchester does a wide variety of work including large scale acquisitions/disposals of commercial properties (including a particularly high profile one recently) as well as the management of properties more generally. It is a good mix of work and a wide range of clients all within a very friendly team.

What are the most enjoyable aspects of your job?

As a trainee you can be given pretty much anything to manage or assist with. The variety and challenge that comes with a dynamic workload is terrifying but is what makes it enjoyable.

What about your job didn’t you expect before you started?

Like most people at the early stage of their legal career I came in to law having previously worked (either throughout university or in a different career) and so coming to work in a law firm was a very different experience. The way in which work is delegated and managed is very different from what I had done before.

Also, the number of IT systems that you need to (quickly) be able to understand and use can be overwhelming…

Who’s the most recent email in your inbox from, and what’s it about?

It is an email from a colleague asking me to assist with reviewing a lease and producing a report for a client. This is a good opportunity to become familiar with key documents in a seat as well understanding the rationale behind lease negotiation.

Where’s the best place to go to get your office’s gossip?

In Manchester, it has to be the kitchen. More generally it is wherever the trainees are.

Describe your training partner in three words.

Supportive. Intelligent. Fair.

Tell us two truths and one lie about yourself (in any order).

  • I have represented England and Australia playing rugby.
  • I have flown a full loop in a light aircraft.
  • My son was born on the day that I joined the Manchester office to commence my training contract!

If you had not decided to become a lawyer, what career would you have chosen?

Pilot – I have always enjoyed flying!

What advice would you give to someone who wants to pursue a career in law?

Do your research into the areas of law and the firms. Don’t waste time doing hundreds of applications – just focus on doing a handful and getting them right.

 60-second interviews