Life as a Trainee Solicitor at Bridge McFarland, told by Chloe Mansfield
Life as a Trainee Solicitor at Bridge McFarland, told by Chloe Mansfield
May 5, 2023

I began my journey with Bridge McFarland LLP in 2014 as a 16 year old when I wanted some work experience at a law firm before beginning my A-Levels at college. I already knew I wanted to be a solicitor, but I thought it would be a good idea to gain some exposure to the realities of a law firm and whether this is something I would enjoy in the future. Although my experience was limited to the postroom due to my age, I was given the opportunity to have conversations with members of staff who worked at the firm and decided that not only did I want to work at a law firm, I wanted to work at this law firm. 

Bridge McFarland was always accommodating whenever I requested work experience, and I continued to complete short periods of work experience each year between my studies. I eventually applied for a paid summer placement role in 2018 during my second year of university, where I studied for my law degree. During this placement role, I was provided with training on the system itself and how to access and progress cases. I also had my first encounter dealing with clients directly and speaking with them should they require an update on their matter. I was split between the clinical negligence department and family law department for the 6-week duration and had the opportunity to attend court with the fee earner on several occasions.

Knowing how personable and encouraging the firm was, I applied for a further summer placement role in 2019 when I finished my degree and was given more responsibility in the medical negligence department. This included but was not limited to learning how to assess limitation, requesting medical records, preparing witness statements, attending conferences, and liaising with clients on a daily basis. Upon completing this placement, I was offered a full-time job as a Legal Assistant in the medical negligence department. I worked in a brilliant team who would take their time to teach me specific tasks so I could gain confidence in progressing the same independently. The team I worked for knew that I was studying for my Legal Practice Course whilst working full time and would therefore spend time with me to ensure my diary was always organised to avoid me becoming overwhelmed. As expected, a busy workload and numerous exams made for a stressful environment, but I always had someone to talk to at the firm and discuss ways to balance my workload and studies.

I was always encouraged to share my thoughts with the firm, including what I enjoyed doing, areas I desired more training on and long-term goals for the future. Appraisals would always be light-hearted and personable, and I always expressed my desire to have a training contract with the firm on completing the Legal Practice Course. This dream did not fall on deaf ears, and I was ecstatic to receive a training contract only two weeks after receiving my results.

My Role at Bridge McFarland

In September 2019, I began my next role with the firm as a Trainee Solicitor and had seats in medical negligence and corporate and residential conveyancing. The Training Partner would reiterate that I could come and speak to her if I had any concerns and would always ask me how I was finding each seat to ensure I was happy in my role. The firm was also very accommodating and, after purchasing a house in Yorkshire, allowed me to move from the Grimsby office to the Hull office so I did not have to travel so far.

Every team I have worked in has been supportive. My favourite thing about the firm is how friendly my colleagues are, which can help me when I am having a stressful day.

I joined the residential conveyancing department in May 2022 and have settled and grown in the department, having a lot of responsibility which I enjoy. The team I work in is fantastic since we consistently communicate and discuss matters which enhances my training.

Although a training contract is typically two years in length, the firm has allowed me to have time to count due to my previous Legal Assistant role. I am hoping to qualify as a Solicitor in the residential conveyancing department soon. They have also kindly put me through my Professional Skills Course and provided me with study days to once again balance my workload and education.

Why Bridge McFarland?

From my long history with Bridge McFarland, I recommend the firm to anyone wanting to join a team that motivates and encourages you, consistently pushes you to learn new areas and develop new skills, and is patient and understanding when you need support. I have loved and still love my time with the firm and hope to continue to grow with them.

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