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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.

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 am currently in my first seat in the Fraud and Insolvency department, where I have been exposed to some very interesting work. Matters I have been involved in include acting for the trustees in bankruptcy of the insolvent estate of a Russian oligarch. The department's cases span a wide range of sectors, and often involve working with lawyers in multiple jurisdictions including Gibraltar and the BVI. The department deals with asset recovery and offshore trust litigation as well as advising clients on their remedies against insolvent counterparties around the world. The work we do is truly global.

In my first seat, I have had the opportunity to develop a wide range of capabilities including learning how to use e-disclosure software, developing my legal research skills, and drafting documents such as witness statements and contractual agreements from precedent. I have gained experience of commercial litigation and dispute resolution, 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 the opportunity to attend client events, and there is a good network of other Trainees to socialise with.

I am looking forward to my next seat in Insurance, where I will be working on a number of contentious matters. I hope to take advantage of the many international seats offered by HFW to work abroad in my third seat.