Sarah O'Mahony (UCC, BCL)
"An outstanding feature is the level of Partner exposure and ongoing support and mentoring you will receive from them and from others on the team".
I studied the BCL (Clinical) Programme at UCC, an innovative four-year degree which incorporates a placement in the legal professional working environment. This programme was the perfect platform for someone like me who wasn't yet entirely sure of what direction they wanted their degree to take them. After a four-month stint in a medium-sized commercial firm I began a six-month Internship in William Fry based in Litigation and on completion of my Internship I was delighted when I was offered a Trainee contract.
Following PPC I at Blackhall Place I was assigned to the Property Department where I have had the opportunity to work on a range of property matters from retail and office leasing for landlords and tenants to investment acquisitions and disposals . I have also been involved in drafting, reviewing title documentation and pre-contract and post-completion matters such as raising pre-contract VAT enquiries and stamping deeds. I have particularly enjoyed the level of client interaction and engagement in this seat and I regularly get to sit in on conference calls and attend client meetings. The level of responsibility I have been required to assume coupled with the quality of work highlights the confidence the Firm has in those it employs.
Trainees are heavily involved in selecting their rotations which means that we get great exposure to areas of law which particularly interest us and also that we are able to make an informed decision about which department we want to qualify into.
There is also a strong focus on learning and development with regular Trainee-specific sessions on areas such as knowledge management and legal drafting and Trainees are also regularly invited to firm-wide learning sessions on topical commercial issues and legal updates. In addition many departments provide specialist niche training which can prove invaluable and ensures you are well-equipped for what lies ahead. What has really impressed me is the Firm's recognition of the importance of developing Trainees' "soft" skills. Recent training has included presentation skills, negotiation skills, time management, client care and business development and such a wide range of content ensures Trainees are well-rounded and well-equipped for anything that comes their way.
An outstanding feature is the level of Partner exposure and ongoing support and mentoring you will receive from them and from others people take the time to explain clearly what is needed. In addition, reviews and regular feedback ensure that you know how you are progressing and what you need to develop further. The "buddy" system helps to eliminate any fears by pairing Interns and Trainees with peers at a similar stage so that you have someone that you can direct those "silly" questions to.
There is great collegiality in my intake and I have made some really good friends in William Fry. Trainees support and help each other and it is clear from the culture fostered in the Firm that a good work-life balance is strongly encouraged. On a social level there is something for everyone with a broad range of events and sports as well as volunteering opportunities.