Phoebe is a Trainee Solicitor who joined Forsters in September 2021 and who will qualify as a solicitor in 2023.
What made you want to train at Forsters over other firms and has reality lived up to your expectations?
My initial interest in Forsters stemmed from their reputation and the departments they have. I also really like the six-seat system as opposed to the more traditional four-seat system. It will give me a better chance to really decide what to qualify into, as well as a chance to get to know more people within the firm.
What was your recruitment process experience for a training contract with Forsters?
Forsters was the first firm where I enjoyed the recruitment process. What really put me at ease was the fact that it is partners and senior associates who interviewed me so it has a far more personal feel to it.
What do you wish you had known before you started your TC?
The day before I started work I was more nervous than I think I’ve ever been so I wish I had known how nice everyone is and how much everyone helps you settle in. There was no need for any of those nerves even if it was entirely natural.
What is a typical day as a trainee solicitor with Forsters?
9.15 – I arrive at the office and get myself a coffee from the kitchen ready to start my day. I check my emails and review my to-do list so that I know what I need to do that day.
9.30 – I attend a client meeting with a partner to discuss the preparation of a will, a letter of wishes and lasting power of attorneys for her. She has assets all over the world so I will get the opportunity to prepare wills for multiple countries. I take a detailed note so that I can prepare an attendance note from the meeting.
11.30 – I do some legal research into roll-over relief on compulsory purchases. Our client has made an agreement with the local council to sell some land so we are researching whether relief can be claimed if he purchases new land or carries out renovations on the existing land under s247 Taxation of Capital Gains Act.
1.00 – I go on my lunchbreak with the other trainees in my year group. If it is sunny we tend to sit in Berkeley Square, but if it is cold or rainy then we will go to the kitchen.
2.00 – I go on a property visit for a probate matter in order to inspect the property due to concerns that there may be squatters. I consult with a locksmith and the executors in order to change the locks, and then contact cleaners and estate agents to get a quote and valuation for the property so that it is ready to go on the market.
3.00 – I review applications for donations from one of our charitable trusts. I arrange all the applications into piles so that the client can see who we think deserves funding, and how much funding we should give. The client cares about the charities being local, and working on projects that benefit those in the nearby area. It is really uplifting to see the work that the charities are doing, and to see how much of a difference the trust’s donations are making.
4.00 – I begin drafting an investor visa application for a client based in the USA. I have to draft an email to the client in order to obtain more information that the application is missing. The application involves drafting a deed of gift to accompany the application. There is no precedent for this so I am able to practice my free hand drafting skills.
5.30 – I wrap up my work for the day. I review my to do list and send any final emails that need attending to. Often I will have a drink with my team or the trainees in my year at the local pub, or if it is a Monday then I will play netball for Forsters.
What is your no. 1 tip for someone who wants to be a trainee at Forsters?
As much as it is important to do all the preparations you can for your application and brush up on interview technique, I would say my top tip is to be yourself. There is not point in putting a front on because Forsters really do seem to love normal, sociable people because of the client base and the departments they have.
Aside from fee earning, how are you involved in the firm’s wider activities?
Forsters offer so much beyond being just a place of work. From the first week I got involved in the netball club and the book club. Since then I have joined the reading scheme, the lunch club, and the charity and community group. It has been amazing to meet people from different departments and to get to know colleagues on a personal basis. There is a wealth of wider activities to choose from, with some being a once per month commitment and some being much more regular. I would encourage anyone joining the firm to make the most of these activities!
Here is your chance to get to know some of our staff and find out what they think life is like working at Forsters.