Welcome to the graduate section of our website!
As the firm’s Training Principal, I’d like to say a few words about why I think you should read on and find out more about the training opportunities we have to offer.
Here at BDB Pitmans we don’t look for one particular type of trainee. We believe individual differences bring great strengths to our firm. There are, however, some traits our trainees all have in common. They are confident, enthusiastic, commercially-minded, can search for (and find) innovative solutions to problems, and demonstrate a real passion for learning. They are also people that we and our clients enjoy working with.
Successful applicants typically have a strong and consistent record of academic achievement – including a 2.1 or better at degree level, if completed – but we are also interested to hear from candidates with wider experience or something extra to offer.
But why should you choose BDB Pitmans? We offer all our trainees a truly supportive and friendly environment to train in. You are not only supported by your trainee supervisor and me, but also from the people you work with closely, including our Partners.
We recognise that our trainees are the future of the firm. They are respected and valued members of the team who make a real contribution to the work we do for our clients. Trainees are given a high level of responsibility and will enjoy frequent client contact from the outset. Speaking of clients, should you train with us you will also have the opportunity to learn about, and gain experience of, the wide range of interesting and high profile work that we do, with training seats available across a broad range of practice areas.
On completion of their training we know that our trainees are fully equipped to become great solicitors. Not only are our trainees given the technical and legal skills required to be a solicitor, they will also have had the opportunity to develop skills in other important areas solicitors need, such as time management, organisation, team work, communication and building client relationships.
We also recognise that the journey doesn’t stop when you become a solicitor, so for those trainees who qualify with us, and we hope they all do, the firm continues to provide training and support as you progress through your career.
Finally, for those seeking a training contract, there is an abundance of information out there about the legal market and the different opportunities available. It’s important to consider the type of environment you feel will help you thrive and the nature of the work that will inspire you. Our future trainees can be assured of a supportive and inclusive environment where they will be given the chance to work on important and complex legal matters. If that sounds like the type of training you are seeking, please read on and learn more about life at BDB Pitmans!
Training at BDB Pitmans
We aim to give you the opportunity to realise your potential, working with some of the most talented lawyers in the profession.
We’ve built a culture that encourages talent to flourish and an environment where people enjoy working.
Training with BDB Pitmans will bring you real responsibility right from the start, combined with the right level of support to ensure you never feel overwhelmed.
Why join BDB Pitmans?
Meet our Trainees
Annie joined us in 2017 after studying law at the University of Oxford and the LPC at BPP. Before becoming a trainee, Annie spent time volunteering for a human rights charity, travelling, and working as a paralegal in a high street firm and subsequently in-house for a large technology company.
The best thing about working at BDB Pitmans ‘Its varied client base, smaller size (which makes it easier to get involved in the more interesting aspects of cases), and friendly and approachable atmosphere.’
Annie’s top trainee tip ‘To get involved in as wide a variety of work as possible – the things you really enjoy doing could be the ones you hadn’t considered before.’
Read about Annie’s experience so far…
I choose BDB Pitmans because I found the firm’s client base really interesting – it does a mix of work for individuals, small and large companies, and clients in the public sector. I also did a vacation scheme at BDB Pitmans a couple of years before beginning my training contract, and found that it was a really friendly place to work, where trainees are given a lot of responsibility right from the beginning.
The training has been really great so far. At the beginning, all new trainees have an induction week to get to grips with the basics. The induction process was really comprehensive, and it was great to have a whole week to settle in to the firm and get to know the other trainees in my intake before starting work in my department. There is a lot of support from each department as well, like training on the different types of work that each department does. Once you start to settle in, there are lots of opportunities to get involved with a wide variety of work, but there is still a lot of support if you ever need it. I meet with my supervisor every week to talk through my workload and see if there’s anything I need any help with, which is really useful when work gets hectic. I was also assigned a ‘buddy’ solicitor in my first seat, who was a great resource whenever I had questions.
My first seat was in the litigation department. Everybody was very supportive and welcoming, and gave me a great variety of really interesting work; I was given more responsibility than I was expecting. Trainees generally manage their own case load for debt recovery cases, which means I was able to decide, for example, whether to try and negotiate a settlement with clients or pursue a claim against them in court. On larger cases, I was able to do a wide range of work, including attending client meetings, going to court with clients (both with a partner and by myself), and drafting documents for use in litigation. I am now in the charities department, where I am learning about a completely different area of law and assisting clients such as independent schools, international charities, and individuals wanting to establish a new charity.
Because the firm is medium-sized, it is really easy to get to know people and more senior members of the firm are very approachable and easy to talk to. Aside from that, I have loved the variety of work which I have been able to do – in just my first two months I was able to get involved in family law, private client, judicial review, property and employment law cases. I think it is unusual to be able to experience so much in such a short period of time, and very useful at this stage of my career.
I have also joined the CSR Committee, and coordinate the firm’s pro bono project which sends BDB Pitmans volunteers to a law clinic in Brixton each month.
Clara joined us in 2017 after changing careers to law from a project management career in the charity sector. Clara completed the GDL on a part-time basis at The University of Law, followed by the LPC at BPP University.
The best thing about working at BDB Pitmans ‘It’s commitment to diversity and it’s openness to welcoming people from different backgrounds.’
Clara’s top trainee tip ‘When you hand a piece of work to a solicitor for them to review, make sure that it is good enough that if it was sent directly to a client you would be happy with the content. This helped me because it confirms the standard of work required from trainees and helps me to refine my work with the client in mind.’
Read about Clara’s experience so far…
In my previous career I worked at several national charities including with projects supporting young people leaving prison and the care system. At the mental health charity, Mind, I was responsible for ensuring that all of the member organisations in the federated structure met the Mind Quality Mark. In my most recent role at Citizens Advice, I was the contract manager for the witness service, a volunteer-led service that supports witnesses in all criminal courts in England and Wales. I was attracted to BDB Pitmans because of its reputation in the charity sector and its approach to diversity and inclusion. During the BDB Pitmans Summer vacation scheme, I found everyone to be positive, friendly and supportive.
In the two years prior to starting at BDB Pitmans, future trainees are invited to various events which makes your first day as a trainee less daunting. During my first week as a trainee, I completed a 5-day induction course along with the four other new trainees.
My first seat was in the charities team, which sits within the business services department. It was a fast-paced environment with lots of deadlines so the days flew by. We work with a diverse range of charities and it is interesting to see the good causes they focus on. I had a lot to learn but my supervisor took the time to provide me with useful feedback.
I have been given a lot of responsibility. In my first month, I had the opportunity to attend three client meetings and three trustee board meetings and supported on lots of different matters. Thankfully all of my work is checked before being sent to a client. The best thing about my first seat was the diversity of matters that I was asked to help with. I learnt about: charity incorporation; due diligence; transfer agreements; constitutional reviews; permanent endowments; bespoke fundraising agreements; related party transactions and legacies. I communicated with Companies House, the Charity Commission and HMRC. A lot of the work has an international aspect so it has been fascinating to learn about charity law in other countries. My supervisor has asked me to help on complex matters and provides useful feedback and supportive challenge to help me improve.
My second seat is in the litigation team, where I have had the opportunity to attend several court hearings and mediation. I am assisting on a number of disputes in relation to family law, property law and contentious trust and probate. It has been fascinating to learn about dispute resolution and the court processes. BDB Pitmans cares about its people and they have made a huge investment in the learning and development of their trainees. The staff at BDB Pitmans are warm, approachable and take pride in delivering high-quality work. BDB Pitmans cares about diversity. For example, during diversity week there was a presentation every lunch time on a range of topics including: disability; the trans community; hate crimes; supporting someone with cancer; and a presentation by Ebony Rainford-Brent, the first black woman to play for the England cricket team.
I was asked to present at an Aspiring Solicitors event where I had the chance to meet potential trainees. I have also joined Best Self (the firm’s internal LGBTQ+ network) and LeGal BesT (a wider LGBT network for London law firms). I have also signed up to volunteer in BDB Pitmans’ partnership project with the Brixton Advice Centre.
Rahil started as a trainee in 2016 after first joining us as a Paralegal. Rahil studied the LLB Solicitors Exempting Degree at the University of Westminster which combined the LPC and LLB over four years.
The best thing about working at BDB Pitmans “The best thing has been that I have real responsibility and am trusted to do real work. People take time to explain things to me in detail and are willing to answer my questions.”
Rahil’s top trainee tip “Don’t be afraid to ask questions. It sounds simple, and usually people are good at explaining everything at the start, but if you are unsure about something just ask. Sometimes just finding out some more context can help a lot when working out the answer. The most important thing is to have a good understanding of what you are being asked to do/produce.”
Read about Rahil’s experience so far…
I wanted to be a solicitor because I like being able to solve problems. Breaking down a problem and then working out the best way to approach it is something solicitors have to do all of the time. I also wanted a career where I can consider the bigger picture. A client’s options can be influenced by a range of factors, and advice is not just limited to legal considerations. I chose BDB Pitmans because of the good range of interesting departments which means that I can really explore what type of lawyer I want to be, and the good size trainee intake which means more responsibility. Working here as a paralegal also helped me get a feel for the firm’s culture.
The experience has been interesting so far. In my first seat I worked with the Commercial team (although I get a good share of corporate work also) and assisted on the acquisition of a restaurant, was involved with drafting an Apprenticeship Agreement (the rules relating to Apprentices had just changed). I sat in on a client meetings and was been given the responsibility of drafting various agreements. I drafted an anti-bribery policy and a service integration agreement, and have researched client queries.
There has been lots of useful IT training to ensure we know how to use the firm’s systems. I’m using the system every day, so in-depth knowledge is important. The firm have had people from various legal databases (e.g. Lexis, Westlaw, PLC, Lawtel and many more) come in and train us on their products. Even though I used some of these during university, it was good to have refresher sessions for when I’m asked to do research (which is often). In our first two weeks we took part in some PSC sessions. To qualify as a solicitor you need to have taken part in a certain number of PSC sessions and the firm arranged these from the start. The induction training in our first week focus on more than purely legal topics, we learned about networking skills as well as drafting. There are also internal training sessions within departments, during my first few months I had a training session at least every fortnight.
BDB Pitmans is a firm where you can feel valued and be yourself. There is a good amount of responsibility, and because there are only 5 trainees a year, you have a chance to really get to know the firm and people. It is a very open place to work, people are approachable, and I find that I can speak with anybody. This makes work a lot easier and more enjoyable.
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