Trainee Solicitor, Fiona Sturges discusses what made her choose to apply for a training contract as Thompson Smith and Puxon.

One of the questions we are asked a lot as trainees is “why did we pick Thompson Smith and Puxon (TSP)?”

The simple answer for me is they offered me a training contract.

Don’t get me wrong, I knew by the end of the assessment centre that this is where I wanted to be. I was given the chance to meet some of the staff here and get a feel for the values of the firm, and I know I made the correct decision in accepting the offer. But, as many of you currently trying to enter this profession know, getting the offer is hard enough and sometimes you do not have the opportunity to be picky.

When I was at university, being told how to apply for law firms, one piece of advice that always stuck out to me was don’t make 100 applications as you’re unlikely to hear back from one. Spend a long time on five, and you are much more likely to hear back from two. 

As such, my pickiness came in much earlier – at the time of choosing where to apply. I had previously worked for four years in central London, and the commute was killing me, so I knew I wanted to work closer to home. I was also working in a global company that had hundreds of employees across multiple offices and it was easy to feel like a cog in the machine. I wanted to be somewhere where I could see that the contribution I made mattered, and to know everyone I worked with. I also had to make sure that the training I received was interesting, varied, and of a high standard.

After almost six months at TSP, I can assure you that that is the case. For the past six months, I have been working in the Wills and Estates Team across our Clacton and Colchester offices. Our Colchester office is just outside of the city centre and we deal with complex matters like making deputyship applications for those who lack capacity, and acting on their behalf as their deputy, drafting Wills for large and complicated estates, and creating and maintaining trusts. I have had the opportunity to research into complex and niche areas of law.

The Clacton office is located more on the high street and so we have a lot more walk-ins as people see the bright yellow on our sign and have to pop in. The matters we deal with in Clacton are, generally, smaller and less complex in terms of assets, but there seems to be many more familial complexities here. I have found that people generally come to us where they feel they need a will; whether that be because they have children from a past relationship, a family member they wish to disinherit, or they want to make sure their children’s inheritance does not get spent on care fees, we are here to advise and help them.

I have spent my first seat drafting wills, lasting powers of attorney’s, deputyship and probate applications and estate accounts. I have been able to sit in on multiple meetings with clients each week, and be trained by different solicitors with varying degrees of experience across both offices, which has helped me immeasurably to grow and learn.

This is all to say, if you are still deciding where to apply, don’t forget the mid-sized regional firms for your training contract. We offer a wide variety of work and training and truly help you to grow into being a well-rounded lawyer.