James Downes

James Downes

What did you do prior to joining Howard Kennedy LLP as a trainee?

I graduated from Exeter University where I studied History. I then completed both my GDL and LPC at the University of Law. Recently, I worked as a paralegal in the Enforcement and Market Oversight Division at the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). I helped with investigations into Insider Dealing and Market Abuse. This was a great introduction to the legal underpinnings of financial crime. It also provided a helpful insight into elements of the UK financial system.

What has been your best moment or your biggest challenge during your training contract so far?

At the time of writing, I would say my biggest challenge so far was my first client meeting. Clients expect a high level of service and professionalism regardless of your status as a Trainee.

What are your personal interests?

Cooking, music, running and spending time with friends/family when possible.

What is your top tip to candidates looking to apply for a training contract at Howard Kennedy LLP?

My top tip is to research thoroughly. Avoid relying on the website and pick an area which is unusual or different about Howard Kennedy in comparison to other firms that you have researched. For the assessment centre, I would say that you should aim to strike a balance between speaking and listening. Make sure you reflect on the opinion of others even when you do not entirely agree with them. Lastly, my top tip for the interview is to stop and think – don't let nerves allow you to blurt the first thing that comes into your head!