A Q&A with second year trainee Ibrahim Patel

21st October 2020

Why did you choose to apply to JMW?

One of the things that stood out to me about JMW was the impressive reputation it held, not only in the North West but nationally. The firm was growing at an incredibly fast pace (and still is!) and yet it still maintained that small-firm friendly culture.  Another key consideration for me was the full service nature of the firm which meant I would have exposure to different areas of law during my training.

How did you find the application process at JMW?

The application process itself was straightforward but challenging as can be expected at a firm of this nature. It consisted of an online application form and a panel interview with three of the firm’s Partners. The interview is definitely designed to put potential trainees through their paces and to see how you think on your feet. It was intense but as long as you are well prepared, you should be fine! One thing that stood out to me during the course of the interview was that there was a genuine effort to get to know me better as an individual – we spent time discussing my hobbies, football rivalries and even my favourite TV series!

Given that I had not worked at JMW before, it was also important to make sure that this was the right firm for me and this is something that really made my mind up. Rather than having a long list of competency/strength-based questions, the Partners were more interested in seeing my potential and whether I was a good fit for the firm.

What advice would you give to those due to take a training contract interview?

My advice would be to ensure you are well prepared – read up on the firm’s departments and the work that they do including some recent cases. As an external candidate it is important to show the reasons behind why you are specifically applying to JMW for a training contract.

Also, when you are being challenged on your views, it is important to understand that there is a fine balance between fighting your corner and backing down when you need to. Being able to accept someone else’s way of looking at things and appreciating that you may not have fully considered something they have raised is definitely not a weakness and you should not just argue for the sake of it!

How was your experience of joining the firm?

After completing my Legal Practice Course, I had around six months before I was due to start my training contract and I was able to join JMW’s Media, Data Protection & Reputation Management team as a Paralegal. Undertaking Paralegal work at the firm before you start your training contract is definitely encouraged and given the speed at which the firm is growing, there are usually opportunities available. Looking back, the Paralegal work I did was invaluable experience for my training contract as not only did I get to work on some really interesting cases (including the landmark data breach Supreme Court case of WM Morrison Supermarkets PLC v Various Claimants) but it also allowed me to familiarise myself with the firm so I could get stuck in straight away once I started my training contract.

What seats have you completed so far?

My first seat was in the Business Crime & Regulatory department, second in Real Estate Finance, and I am currently sat in the firm’s Corporate department. I am grateful to have had such a good variety of seats including contentious, non-contentious and transactional. Given the way the Corporate department is structured at the firm, I mainly work on Commercial, Sports and Banking & Finance matters currently which is great experience. It is a fantastic opportunity to be able to get so much out of one seat.

What experiences have you gained whilst completing your training contract?

One of the big positives of a training contract at JMW is the level of responsibility you are given. In all of the seats I have completed, you are given as much responsibility as you can handle. Direct client contact is a daily occurrence in some seats and you find yourself deeply involved in your supervisor’s matters rather than solely providing background support. During my time in the Business Crime & Regulatory department, I even conducted a number of client meetings on my own or with Counsel. Whilst this can be daunting at first, it is key to use the support available to you and not be afraid to ask questions.

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Ibrahim Patel is a Trainee Solicitor located in Manchesterin our Trainee Solicitors department

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