Before starting my training contract, I was a paralegal in the Planning Team at Howard Kennedy for three years. I specialised in all aspects of town and country planning, carrying out advisory work and due diligence for some of the firm's largest clients and regularly drafting and negotiating section 106 agreements.
As a trainee it's so important to be flexible and really take the opportunity to learn as much as you can from each seat. Working as a paralegal for so long in one field meant I had a good grasp of the law and so being thrown into a different team has been both the best part and the most challenging part. My biggest challenge has been lining up completion on one matter, on what was supposed to be a simple transaction but which kept being delayed. It was also one of the best moments as the client was delighted when we completed. My take-away from that? It sounds obvious, but always pick up the phone and don't rely on getting a quick response by email!
Being in an office has encouraged me to be more active (although there can be some running around at times!) and I always make time to go to a pilates class a couple of times a week. I also enjoy reading, seeing theatre shows, and spending time with friends and family.
I would say the best thing you can do is really understand where and what you are applying for! I think it can be so easy to get lost in it being a numbers game that you lose sight of what you ultimately want out of a firm, and it will come across. Research the firm, speak to people if you can and try to let some of 'you' come out in the process. Howard Kennedy is looking for a diverse set of trainees, who understand what the firm has to offer and who want to know why you have chosen to apply to it over other firms. Be personable, be friendly and as cliché as it sounds – be yourself!