Name: Henry Beattie
Firm: Foot Anstey
Position: Trainee Solicitor
Degree: History MA, then GDL/LLM LPC
University: St Andrews then University of Law
Hobbies: Travelling, Music, Restaurants, Cooking
Current department: Commercial
Number of TC applications made and interviews attended: 5/3
Why did you decide to train as a solicitor?
Despite studying a non-law subject at university I had been interested in working in the law from a young age. I went along to a number of presentation evenings from various law firms in my first year at St Andrews and, after spending time at different law firms I decided to convert to law after university and train as a solicitor.
What were the biggest challenges you faced when trying to secure a training contract?
Finding a firm that was the right ‘fit’ for me. From first impressions a lot of law firms can appear very similar but the working cultures and atmosphere in each firm can vary dramatically. Finding a culture that you can happily see yourself working in is crucial to successfully securing a training contract.
What was the toughest training contract interview question you were asked (at any firm) and how did you answer?
If you could offer a training contract to anyone else on this assessment day, who would it be and why?
This was a tricky question to answer right at the end of one of my training contract interviews, especially considering that I had only met most of the candidates that morning. Thankfully I was on a vacation scheme with some of the people on my assessment day so was able to think of someone on my feet!
Tell us a bit about the type of work handled by the department you’re in at the moment…
We have just rotated seats and as such I am just getting started with the commercial team. So far I have experienced a variety of work from a virtual secondment to one of our clients, to drafting licences and supply agreements to assisting our corporate team with the due diligence aspects of a business purchase.
What are the most enjoyable aspects of your job?
I particularly enjoy the variety of work that comes across my desk each day. I can be drafting a relatively small scale agreement one morning and be working on an international collaboration agreement in the afternoon.
At Foot Anstey we have an open plan office, with support staff, fee earners and partners all sitting together. This really helps with building effective working relationships across the wider commercial team and to develop a team spirit to how we go about our work.
What about your job didn’t you expect before you started?
The levels of adaptability you have to have on a daily basis. When work is busy you may be required to shift focus rapidly depending on the pressures of one particular task over another and it has always proved useful to me to run a system of recording all tasks (no matter how small!) on a ‘To Do’ list or through your digital calendar so when urgent tasks do come in other tasks aren’t missed.
Who’s the most recent email in your inbox from, and what’s it about?
Foot Anstey has just introduced a new method of compiling our training record in an online system and the most recent email in my inbox is about how to access it!
Where’s the best place to go to get your office’s gossip?
We have staff break rooms in all our offices we call ‘Exchanges’ which are always stocked with a good selection of drinks and fruit and are a great place to step away from your desk for a few minutes. Usually you’ll find someone else in there to have a chat to!
Describe your training partner in three words.
Approachable, supportive and focused.
Tell us two truths and one lie about yourself (in any order).
- After graduating from University I travelled through America on a converted school bus
- I am part of a Jazz Quartet that plays monthly gigs in the South West
- I have been a Department Store’s Father Christmas
If you had not decided to become a lawyer, what career would you have chosen?
I briefly explored going into marketing/PR in my final year of university but ultimately settled on law.
What advice would you give to someone who wants to pursue a career in law?
Get as much experience as you can before applying – it’s not a deal breaker if you don’t have scores of vacation schemes under you belt when you apply but law firms are looking for evidence that you’ve made an informed decision about your career.
Equally don’t underestimate the value of working in retail/service industry roles while studying – the commercial experience you can gain on the frontlines of a business and developing customer service experience will stand you in great stead when you come to an interview scenario.