Associate, Private Client
Why did you choose Forsters?
I chose Forsters because I wanted to work for a mid-sized firm that was well-respected, involved in high profile work, but which also promoted a work/life balance and a friendly working environment.
What is the training like at Forsters?
The training here is unique. I was surprised by how much responsibility we were given at such an early stage. Although being plunged head first into the work is quite scary, trainees here receive a lot of support and thorough feedback on the work they do, which means you learn quickly and get a lot out of the work.
One of the main advantages of training in a mid-sized firm is that the trainees tend to be involved on a deal or piece of work from start to finish. For example, in Commercial Real Estate, I assisted with the work involved in each stage of the sale of a building, which was an invaluable experience in allowing me to understand the whole process of a sale.
Trainees tend to do work for lots of different fee earners, rather than having one supervisor, which means the range of work is much more varied and it is good practice to adapt to and learn from each fee earner's different style of working.
Describe a typical day in the life of a trainee at the firm.
Days tend to vary hugely, so telling you what I did today in the Private Client department is probably as good an example as any!
8.30: I grabbed a coffee in the kitchen with another trainee and caught up with emails.
9:30: I got taken to a client meeting with an Australian client by one of the partners who specialises in offshore work. The client wanted advice on the most tax efficient way to structure his purchase of a UK property. I took an attendance note of the meeting.
10.30: After the meeting finished, the partner and I debriefed in his office and discussed what our next steps would be.
11.00: I typed up the attendance note for the meeting, and started research on a few points that had arisen in the meeting. I sent the partner a memorandum detailing my findings.
13.00: I went to Forsters' running club in Green Park.
14.00: I had a quick meeting with another partner, who instructed me to draft a will and letter of wishes and outlined the client's various requirements for each.
14.20: I drafted the will and letter of wishes, along with a covering letter explaining the terms of the will, and sent them to the partner for review.
16.30: I had a meeting with an assistant to discuss an American client. The assistant explained the client's background and how Forsters proposed to structure the ownership of his assets and then asked me to draft the necessary documents.
16.50: I drafted the various documents, and telephoned the client in order to obtain more details.
18.15: Once I had finished the drafts, the assistant went through what I had done and gave me feedback on my work.
18.45: I made the required amendments, sent the documents to the client, and left the office for the evening.
What is the most interesting thing you have done at Forsters to date?
The thing I find most interesting is attending a client's first meeting with the firm and then assisting with the follow-up work. Attending a first meeting is a brilliant experience for a trainee: it means you get a feel for the client's background and concerns and it allows you to understand the principal issues involved because the partner has to put their initial advice in client (and trainee!) friendly terms. Assisting with the follow up work then means you can consolidate your knowledge on the issues at hand and get involved in the more complex elements of the advice, which often require further research.
What hours do you generally work?
It completely depends. Some weeks are far busier than others, and although deadlines don't tend to be unreasonable, you will be expected to stay until your work is done. However, you will not be expected to stick around if you have nothing to do: face time is not something that features here. I would say on average my working hours are probably about 8.45 am to 7.00 pm, and I almost always take a proper lunch break.
What is the most challenging aspect of being a trainee?
The most challenging aspect is being on the move every four months. The seats fly by, and as soon as you feel like you finally have a grip on the work a department does, you are on the move again, which can sometimes feel a bit like starting from scratch!
What do you enjoy most about working for Forsters?
Everyone will say it, but it is such a lovely group of people. They really look out for you and are keen to make sure you enjoy your time in the various departments. The friendly nature of the firm means help is always on hand if you need it, and if you have a rubbish day, there will always be someone willing to have a pint after work with you.
What about the social life at Forsters?
Forsters has its own cocktail - need I say more?
Finally, what three words would you use to describe Forsters?
Friendly, commercial, distinguished.