Name: Dan Partridge

Firm: Stephens Scown

Position: Trainee Solicitor

Degree: Law

University: Exeter

Hobbies: Golf, Cycling, DIY

Current department: Commercial Property (Exeter office)

Number of TC applications made and interviews attended: 6/3

Dan Partridge, Stephens Scown

Why did you decide to train as a solicitor?

I was looking for intellectual challenge in a commercial environment. I like helping people but wanted to do so in the private sector.

What were the biggest challenges you faced when trying to secure a training contract?

After university I worked for a church for four years. About half the firms I applied to agreed that this enhanced my employability as a lawyer; half didn’t.

What was the toughest training contract interview question you were asked (at any firm) and how did you answer?

You’ve got a lot of extra-curricular activities on your CV – have you got time to be a lawyer?” was a bit of a curveball.

I think I explained that I have a broad range of interests that will complement, rather than compete with, my legal career and ambitions – and that I would probably do a bit less once I started work.

Tell us a bit about the type of work handled by the department you’re in at the moment…

The commercial property team in our Exeter office handles a broad range of transactions. There’s a lot of work for house builders and developers (both regional and national), lenders and landowners.

What are the most enjoyable aspects of your job?

I enjoy the combination of running smaller matters in my own right and assisting various partners in the team with more complex/valuable transactions. As training models go it seems to offer the best of both worlds.

What about your job didn’t you expect before you started?

I am often surprised by the importance of strong numeracy skills. I’d encourage aspiring trainees who are nervous about numbers to really work hard on this – both in terms of accuracy and speed. It’s a great way to impress and reassure clients and supervisors.

Who’s the most recent email in your inbox from, and what’s it about?

The legal director of a national house builder, regarding an option agreement over our client’s land. My supervisor is away from the office this week and he’s asked me to keep an eye on things in the meantime.

Where’s the best place to go to get your office’s gossip?

Driving up the M4 to PSC sessions with the other trainees.

Describe your training partner in three words.

Streetwise. Unflappable. Empowering.

Tell us two truths and one lie about yourself (in any order).

  • I arranged for our managing partner to be ‘pied’ at last Friday drinks.
  • I was mistaken for our training principal’s husband at a Christmas event.
  • I have crashed our firm’s VW campervan.

If you had not decided to become a lawyer, what career would you have chosen?

I like to think that I’d be a maverick entrepreneur but realistically I’d probably be a forensic accountant.

What advice would you give to someone who wants to pursue a career in law?

The legal profession is a lot less homogenous than you might think; instead of trying to blend in make sure you differentiate yourself.

60-second interviews