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Celia Richardson

Trainee Solicitor

I participated in HFW's spring vacation scheme in 2014, when I was in my final year studying English at university. During the vacation scheme, I sat in the Energy department. Although I was a non-law student, I was able to get involved in useful work such as researching points of law and preparing memorandums. I also undertook some pro bono work – the firm takes part in a weekly free legal advice surgery which trainees are encouraged to attend.

The vacation scheme provided me with a clear insight into the firm, and I found myself drawn to the international nature of its work and its friendly, collaborative atmosphere. I felt that due to the firm's size and number of trainees taken on each year, a training contract at HFW would offer me a good level of responsibility as well as exposure to clients. After the vacation scheme, I was offered a training contract. I went on to complete the GDL and LPC before joining the firm.

During my time at HFW, I have worked in the Fraud and Insolvency, Shipping, and Insurance and Reinsurance departments, and was seconded to Dubai for six months in my third seat. I have had the opportunity to develop a wide range of capabilities including learning how to use e-disclosure software, carrying out legal research, interacting with clients and drafting documents such as witness statements, legal opinions, and contractual agreements. I have gained experience of commercial litigation, dispute resolution and transactions, and a sense of how we can best work with our clients to accomplish their goals. The firm's focus on industry sectors has provided me with significant commercial exposure. I have enjoyed attending client events, and there is a good network of other trainees to socialise with.

I am currently in my fourth and final seat in the Insurance Transactional and Regulatory team, where I am involved in a global regulatory project for a large sovereign wealth fund. I have taken on a role in project management, as well as producing draft advice for the client. I have found the work in this department to be both specialist and international in focus. Having had little previous experience of regulatory work, the learning curve has been steep, but I am enjoying the challenge and feel supported by friendly colleagues. My training contract has been an excellent experience so far.

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