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Interview with a trainee solicitor at Birkett Long

View profile for David Feakins
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Where are you with your training contract?
David Feakins: I am currently in my second seat with the Dispute Resolution team, I’ve already spent 6 months with the Divorce & Family team. I spent time as a paralegal at Birkett Long, meaning my training contract will only be 18 months, rather than 24. 
Why did you choose Birkett Long?
David Feakins: Birkett Long has always been a place I have wanted to work, due to the reputation of the firm. Having worked here for a number of years before starting my training contract, the friendliness of all the staff, including the partners, really showed me that this is a firm I want to stay with. 
What route did you take to become a trainee?
David Feakins: I started as a paralegal at Birkett Long, in the Wills, Trusts and Probate team. I had already completed my LPC and was lucky enough to be given the opportunity of starting my training contract in September 2017.
Should you become a paralegal before applying for a training contract?
David Feakins: It certainly didn’t do me any harm. In fact, becoming a paralegal first gave me a great insight into how to run my own files and deal with client expectations. As I had dealt with all of this prior to becoming a trainee, it felt like a natural progression. However, if you can get a training contract before coming a paralegal, I don’t think you should be turning it down! 
Do you need a degree in law before applying for a training contract? 
David Feakins: Most firms, such as Birkett Long, will stipulate that you must be a second year law student in order to apply for a training contract. 
Do you need to be a certain age to apply for a training contract?
David Feakins: You don’t need to be a certain age. However, most firms will require you to be a second year law student at university so the minimum age would usually be 19. 
Is it costly to become a lawyer?
David Feakins: Other than your law degree and/or the GDL course, you will also need to complete the LPC to commence your training contract. The cost of doing so can be varied, but the LPC alone usually equates to over £10,000. There are, however, different ways in which this can be funded.