Talking Training Contracts With Bennett Griffin’s Managing Partner, Kate Hallin

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Looking To The Future For Bennett Griffin

Kate Hallin is the Managing Partner here at Bennett Griffin. She was appointed back in 2018 and – as well as specialising in Property Litigation – is responsible for driving the growth of the firm, leading its operational teams and ensuring it adheres to strict compliance procedures. Before becoming Managing Partner, Kate started her career with Bennett Griffin more than 15 years ago as a secretary. During this time, she applied for one of the firm’s Training Contracts. After a brief hiatus, these annual opportunities have now returned. The firm is currently looking to recruit three trainee solicitors this September. We caught up with Kate to find out why she thinks they could help anyone looking to start their law career.

How did you find out about the Bennett Griffin training contracts?

I had already obtained a role with Bennett Griffin as a secretary and applied from there. Gaining experience of a law firm is hard to come by. When training it really helps to have a good understanding of all aspects of what it is like to work in a law firm from reception onwards. You can learn so much from starting from scratch!

Did you have any law experience qualifications before applying for the training contract?

I obtained a 2.1 degree in Criminology and Criminal Justice, went on to the Post Graduate Diploma in Law and then the Legal Practice Course.

After a brief hiatus, the training contracts are now back. What sort of work can successful applicants expect to be doing?

As part of your training contract, you do four “seats” in different legal areas (6 months each) ranging from Property, Litigation, Commercial and Private client work.

You will be given legal work to do from the outset and will need to have the ability to research the areas of law and provide your views as to what you think should be done as well as going through the work with your supervisors. Law is not just the drafting of documents or writing letters; it is also the human interactions with clients, contacts and colleagues, a skill which will be taught to those willing to listen.

Kate Hallin - Managing Partner at Bennett Griffin

Your legal career really took off after completing the training contract. What benefits did you personally take from it?

When I was trained (which was a long time ago), I had excellent supervisors who spent time with me discussing cases and the work. This is really important and something that we will provide at Bennett Griffin. However, one thing that I learned very early on was to help those supervisors. By that I mean coming to meetings prepared, researching the areas of law in advance and not expecting them to give all the answers. The best trainees are the ones that say: “I have researched this, and this is what I have done so far”, and not the ones who just say: “How do I do that?”

Now that the training contracts have returned, how do you think they could benefit someone looking to start/further their career in law?

Bennett Griffin is an evolving firm. The changes we have made over the last three years have put us in a place to expand and grow substantially. We are bringing trainees on as we see them as the future of the firm, just like I was all those years ago. The future is extremely exciting for Bennett Griffin and those on board with us from the start.

You are now the Managing Partner at Bennett Griffin. Once your training contract was complete, how did your career develop?

I stayed with Bennett Griffin for approximately four years after I qualified and was promoted to Associate during that period. Then I left the firm and worked for a large corporate firm in Southampton for six years. I was asked to return by the then Partners and became a Partner immediately and head of Dispute Resolution. Within six months I also became an Equity Partner, and six months after that, Managing Partner. Now, my road is not common and was not necessarily planned. At 38, I was a very young Managing Partner. However, I now know what it takes to run a business (especially a law firm), and I will train anyone who is interested and considering wanting to be a part of the business side of things in their future. After all, I cannot be here forever!

Bennett Griffin’s Training Contracts application process is now open.

The deadline for applications is 31st March 2022.

In order to apply, send your CV and covering letter to Operations Manager Kathy Grieve at KAG@bennett-griffin.co.uk

For more information, take a look at the Training Contracts webpage.