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A year in the life of a trainee at Archers...meet Mary Foster

Image of A year in the life of a trainee at Archers...meet Mary Foster

I am a trainee solicitor at Archers Law currently in my second seat in the Corporate department. I completed my law degree in 2012 at Newcastle University followed by the Legal Practice Course in 2013 at Northumbria Law School.

Then I spent a year living in Munich in Germany. This was a good experience and gave me the opportunity to learn a new language. On my return I worked at different law firms in Newcastle in the conveyancing, corporate insolvency and commercial property departments.

I noticed the trainee solicitor vacancy at Archers Law so I applied and was delighted to be invited to an interview and offered the position. I joined Archers in September 2017 and spent my first seat in the Family department. I am currently in the Corporate department and will join the Wills, Trusts and Probate department in September this year. Alongside my training I have successfully completed the Professional Skills Course at Northumbria University for trainee solicitors. I have recently joined the Tees Valley Law Society and was elected to become a member of the council. I am looking forward to taking an active role in the Society.

I spent my first 6 months at Archers in the Family department. The department comprises of one partner, an executive associate and an associate solicitor as well as a large legal support team. Whilst working in the department, I attended court, took notes, directed counsel and ensured that the clients were comfortable with and understood the court process which can be daunting if you are not familiar with it. All efforts are made however to reach an agreement before going to court which is used as a last resort.

In the Family department I prepared the paperwork in relation to applications for divorce and financial and child arrangements orders. I undertook research in relation to cases involving farms, the rules in relation to pensions and marriages that have taken place abroad. I also had the privilege of sitting in the Resolution meetings. Resolution is an organisation which promotes the resolution of family matters in a constructive, non-confrontational manner and encourages its members to consider the needs of the whole family and to put the interests of the children first. The family solicitors at Archers are all members of Resolution.

My current seat is in the Corporate department. The department comprises of one partner, an executive associate and a solicitor and is closely linked with the commercial property, employment and litigation departments. I run my own files under supervision and have recently completed the sale of a business including property and employment aspects. The client was pleased with the legal service provided and stated that issues which were very new to him were made more understandable and straightforward as possible. It was lovely to receive such positive feedback.

In the Corporate department I am gaining experience drafting a wide variety of documents including loan agreements and legal charges. Following the recent changes to data protection legislation I have assisted clients with updating their website privacy notices and standard terms and conditions to ensure compliance with the new laws. I have attended a client’s business premises to undertake a due diligence exercise pending the sale of the business before the documents were uploaded to a virtual data room. I have also attended a client at home to arrange the signing of documents pending completion of the transaction.

Aside from the legal work there are lots of opportunities to get involved in networking and business development at Archers. I recently helped with a charity bakesale raising money for the Alzheimer’s Society. I have chatted to students thinking about pursuing a career in the law at Eaglescliffe School along with Emma Smith who is also a trainee solicitor at Archers. The client Christmas drinks was a good opportunity to network and speak to clients. It is interesting to hear about both new and established businesses operating in the local area. Teesside is a thriving region with lots of enterprise and talent so there are a lot of projects to get involved with.  

I am really enjoying training at Archers. There is a friendly, professional and organised working environment owing to the excellent management and support team. I have a good level of responsibility but there is always someone willing to help if needed. I am looking forward to my next seat in Wills, Trusts and Probate which I will move to in September. Next year I will complete my training and qualify as a solicitor.