Prior to commencing the training contract at HFW, I studied Law followed by the LPC. The firm was supportive of the transition from my undergraduate degree to the LPC. For half of the course, I was placed in a class with 12 other future HFW Trainees, which not only allowed us to support each other throughout the course, but also to bond as a Trainee group.
My first seat was in Commodities Litigation. I was quickly inducted into the world of international arbitration, assisting with a number of high-profile cases, including a coal transaction, a sophisticated warehouse fraud, and frustration of several multi-million dollar shipbuilding contracts. Sitting in an office with a Partner came with significant responsibility including the opportunity to draft documents for LCIA Tribunals, assist with witness statements, communicate directly with clients and attending meetings with Counsel. I believe that direct contact with a Partner is one of the most constructive ways to learn during a training contract, as you are able to easily discuss case strategy, learn more about the economics of a law firm, and witness first-hand how Partners bring in business and build their practice.
A highlight of my seat was helping to draft submissions for a security for costs hearing as part of an LCIA arbitration, and then attending the hearing in which Counsel used a number of the submissions I had drafted in persuading the Tribunal to grant security for our client against a shell company.
HFW is a truly global firm, from our clients being based all over the world, to the disputes we deal with all having an international element. This culture of having a collaborative network of offices spreads through the training contract, especially with my second seat being in the Shipping department of the Dubai office. I am excited to get a new perspective on a legal career, and understand the business practices in another country and learn about local culture.
One thing I have found instantly noticeable, is the friendly and open nature of the firm. From Associates to PAs to Document Services support staff, everyone in the office is exceptionally welcoming, easy to talk to and immensely helpful. As a first seat Trainee, there were times I was perplexed by some simple tasks, but thankfully there was always a friendly face on hand to assist.