Trainee Blog - Life in the First Seat

Thursday 3rd March 2022

Commencing my trainee solicitor contract during a global pandemic was an intimidating experience. However, my first day at Gordons in Commercial Property immediately helped to settle those nerves. The very first job I received was to review and mark up (i.e. amend) a draft lease on behalf of an FTSE 100 client, who was in the process of taking a lease of a unit in a newly built outlet centre.

In the beginning, I felt immediate pressure given the complexity and importance of the job. However, the fee earner who assigned me the task made it clear that this job was for my development. I was told that it didn’t matter if I made a hundred mistakes and spent all day on the task. What was important was that I gained practical experience of commercial leases and start to develop an understanding for the various clauses and mechanisms by which they operate.

After reviewing my work, the fee earner spent two hours going through the lease with me. What was brilliant about this was that it helped me to understand the real-world purpose of a clause. In addition, I was able to grasp the commercial aims that it was designed to achieve. By talking through the amends, I was able to gain a small insight into what did and did not matter to that specific client and how our drafting could make those priorities a reality.

Life as a trainee solicitor at Gordons.

What has really stuck with me from day 1 and from across the seat, is the trust in responsibility you are given from the get-go. As a trainee at Gordons, you are given a lot of opportunities to tackle challenging work but within a supportive and approachable team network. As a firm, we place great value in our motto, People First, Lawyers Second. I think the general approach to training is emblematic of this.

Alongside gaining invaluable experience during my first seat, I’ve also had the chance to get involved with other firm aspects. As a University of York alumni, I had the opportunity to go back to visit, as well as give a lecture to students on behalf of Gordons. This was something I relished and took great pride in. Also, whilst preparing for and planning for the event, I had my team and firm’s full support.


Separate from my billable work, I’m a member of the Gordons Band, and we perform on an annual basis at staff parties. This is a great way to meet colleagues outside of my immediate team. Also, the free beers at rehearsals only sweetened the deal!

Though the first-day jitters never quite go away, as a firm, we do everything we can to ensure the training experience is enjoyable and valuable.  If you’re looking for a challenging yet friendly firm to start your career with, I would strongly recommend Gordons. Applying for a vacation scheme is a great place to start.

To find out more about our graduate trainee scheme visit our career pages