In defence of the ‘hotchpotch’ training contract

In defence of the ‘hotchpotch’ training contract

Recently, a peer at another law firm described my training contract as a ‘hotchpot’. A hotchpot is a concept used in wills and trusts to ensure fairness among the beneficiaries by taking into account amounts already received when calculating the final amount due to them under the terms of the trust or will.

I do not think they had undertaken a seat in wills and trusts… and so I suspect the word they were looking for was hotchpotch.

To be fair, I understand their sentiment – many seem surprised when I explain how I have spent my two years. My four seats have consisted of:

  1. Education
  2. Tax, Trusts & Succession
  3. Corporate & Commercial
  4. Agricultural Property Litigation

It really could not get much more varied if I tried and looking back I certainly would not change the way it has turned out.

Many people in and out of the legal profession ask what you are going to ‘specialise’ in almost as soon as you start your training contract. For me, this question arose even sooner with decisions of what modules I would study during my undergraduate law degree at university and my electives during the Legal Practice Course. The truth is that you will not specialise in any particular area of law until you qualify. A training contract with a full-service firm like Michelmores is an opportunity to try out several areas that you may not have initially been drawn towards and I have very much taken full advantage of this.

Undertaking this variety of seats has allowed me to spend time across all three of the Firm’s departments (Business, Real Estate and Private Client) as well as all three of the Firm’s offices, in Exeter, London and Bristol. It has been a valuable opportunity to get my face out there to a Firm with over 450 staff and growing. Not only is this great for socialisation around the office (a recent trip to the Exeter office saw me spending an excessive amount of time catching up with colleagues), but it also helps when a member of your team asks, “who should I talk to about Companies House filings?” or, “does anyone know anything about lasting powers of attorney?”

No area of law is practised in isolation and no client desires just one service. The interaction between the areas of expertise within the Firm is something which I regularly experienced within each of my seats and has given me an appreciation for the importance of collaboration. Knowledge of other services that can be offered to a client is also a valuable skill for any solicitor in a full-service law firm for the benefit of the client and firm alike. The sector approach taken by Michelmores ensures that this is achieved in a client-focussed manner.

Whilst it may not be a ‘hotchpot’ in the legal sense of the word, I am very pleased with how my training contract has come together and (almost) feel ready to have the training wheels taken off come September.