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Susannah Allen

What led you to apply for a training contract at Wrigleys?

I knew Wrigleys was a specialist law firm and the thought of working alongside solicitors and partners who have a deeper and more technical understanding of certain niche legal sectors was an exciting prospect for me.

In addition, I knew I would experience areas of law which trainees would not usually be exposed to, such as charity law and agricultural property, which was both a unique and inviting quality about the firm. I enjoyed that the firm did not specialise in contentious areas of law as previous work experience demonstrated that I prefer a less hostile environment where both parties are working towards the same outcome.

As Wrigleys only place between one and three trainees each year, I was confident that my training would be focused and that colleagues would take the time to support with my development in each seat. Due to the small intake, trainees also work closely with partners across the firm. I knew the hands-on approach would provide valuable learning opportunities.

Furthermore, I was aware that the firm encourages its colleagues to have a healthy work-life balance to improve productivity whilst supporting wellbeing. In the modern legal sphere, I felt this was an important attribute as it has not succumbed to the overly corporate environment where profit is placed above all else.

Lastly, Wrigleys is a proud Northern firm, with offices in Leeds, Sheffield and Newcastle, which was ideal for myself as my hometown is Sheffield and I knew I wanted to live near my family whilst still being able to train at a highly accomplished firm.

What makes Wrigleys different from other firms?

At Wrigleys, there is a non-corporate ethos, and the firm does not adhere to the hierarchical and outdated culture of stereotypical law firms. Instead, individual wellbeing is at the heart of Wrigleys. Everyone is valued regardless of their position and those in senior roles make a conscious effort to be both approachable and compassionate. It is widely known that colleagues want each other to thrive in both their personal and professional lives, as the two are inextricably linked. The culture of the firm is truly remarkable, and it is at the forefront of every colleague’s mind. This has allowed me to feel very comfortable working at Wrigleys in a short period of time.

Wrigleys provide specialist expertise in legal areas such as private client, trusts law, property, charities, and social economy (with related niche areas including agriculture, pensions, ecclesiastical law and education). This means that there is always a variety of new and exciting work that is mentally stimulating. Everyone is encouraged to focus on the areas of work that they find the most interesting which creates teams full of enthusiastic and passionate solicitors.

Even longstanding members of the firm are sometimes presented with obscure legal issues that they have not encountered before due to the specific nature of work that Wrigleys undertakes. This shows that our work is seldom mundane or repetitive, and that you will continue to learn both novel and intriguing points of law throughout your legal career.

How much responsibility and client contact do you have as a trainee?

Throughout my training contract, my supervisors and colleagues have ensured that I have had a wide variety of high-quality work. This includes attending several client meetings (both in person and online) and dealing directly with clients. Trainees are also encouraged to contribute to internal training sessions, and I have chaired two monthly team meetings. This has improved my confidence and helped me to develop my own style of verbal and written communication.

All trainees are viewed as individuals and their workload is tailored accordingly. The firm does not want trainees to feel overwhelmed because this is not conducive to our learning. Instead, the level of responsibility is gradually increased as we move through our seats and as our confidence grows, so that we are mentally engaged whilst not feeling generally stressed. In addition, trainees can structure their own training contract if there is an area of law that they are particularly interested in by raising this with our training principal who will make every effort to ensure we can explore that further.

Do you get involved with any other aspects of the firm?

Wrigleys is an inclusive and collaborative firm where all colleagues are encouraged to get involved in different initiatives. I am a member of Team Wrigleys and we co-ordinate the fundraising and volunteering activities for the firm to support of several different causes. Most recently, Team Wrigleys has engaged in walking, running, cycling or swimming 100 miles in March to raise donations for the charity, Mind.

The trainee cohort makes a conscious effort to arrange frequent socials so that we can touch base with one another and discuss how we are finding our training contracts. We ensure that any future trainees are also invited to the socials to help encourage strong working relationships which are crucial as a junior solicitor. In line with the firm’s collegiate atmosphere, I have also attended departmental and firm wide social events which are held several times a year. This shows that the firm truly values a healthy work-life balance.

How would you sum up working at Wrigleys?

I feel very fortunate to work at Wrigleys. The firm is full of genuine, passionate and hardworking solicitors who value having a supportive and nurturing workforce as much as they value providing a high-quality service and expert legal advice to their clients. I am looking forward to the remainder of my training contract and qualifying into a firm with such a brilliant reputation.

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