Your Success is our success

At Butcher & Barlow we are committed to guiding talented graduates to be the best they can be. We want our trainees to thrive, both professionally and personally.

Start date: September 2022

Applications close: 31st November 2020

Butcher & Barlow have four training contracts available each year. With 4 six month seats, each Trainee will get the opportunity to fully experience 4 practice areas over the two years. The seats will be a mix of private and commercial, contentious and non-contentious to give you the opportunity to find the area of law that inspires you the most. These seats may be residential property, corporate and commercial, family and medical negligence. Or perhaps, private client, agriculture, commercial litigation and commercial property. With such a broad range of specialisms on offer, a training contract with Butcher & Barlow ensures that you are not pigeon holed before you get started in your career.

As a regional law firm, with 160 staff over 10 locations, you will be fully immersed in the Firm from the outset. You’ll be working with a Partner or a Senior Lawyer who will mentor you and provide you with your daily work load. Although the work you will undertake will vary between departments you can be sure you will be liaising with clients from early stage, preparing legal documents and researching for projects or articles. We actively encourage our Trainee Solicitors to take responsibility and to offer ideas to those you work with and integrate themselves with the team.

We pride ourselves on the fact that 15 of our current Partners began their careers with Training Contracts with Butcher & Barlow and we believe that the work/life balance we offer, combined with the varied caseload and the responsibility we encourage our Solicitors to take, means that we have a driven and contented workforce who want to share not only in maintaining our excellent reputation but in being part of our future. We believe it is important to encourage each member of staff, whether qualifed or not, to feel part of our team and that they can contribute to our continued success. We have a blend of youth and experience that enables us to empathise with the needs of our clients and to offer the solutions and assistance they require.

What we are looking for

We are looking for graduates with potential. It is not about your background, or the type of degree you have, or where you studied.

Applicants should have:

  • Commercial awareness
  • Attention to detail
  • Individuality
  • Drive, passion and innovation

Applicants should be:

  • Team players with interpersonal skills
  • Strong communicators
  • Able to accept responsibility

A word from our Future Lawyers

I qualified in September 2019 in to the Commercial Property department, having spent my last seat working in the Commercial Property team at the Firm’s Gadbrook Park office.

There is no typical day in the life of a Trainee Solicitor working in the Commercial Property department and the tasks that I was required to carry out were extremely varied. I might be expected to do simple tasks such as chasing the Land Registry for an update on a registration or copying completed transaction documents to more challenging tasks such as reporting on a contract for sale or transfer deed for a client or drafting a new lease to be sent out for client’s approval.

The majority of clients that we act for are businesses or people that own businesses and therefore we find that they are already well informed of what requirements they want from a property transaction and how this should be achieved. Of course, this also means that the clients can be quite demanding and it is not unusual for clients to give you short deadlines to achieve their instructions or for your instructions to change from one day to the next in order to meet the clients’ objectives. The hardest part to learn is how to interact with clients and to make sure that you do not over promise, but at the same time, you are confident enough to give them replies to their enquiries.

My day would usually start with me reviewing the list I wrote at the end of the previous day, prioritising  tasks which must be completed by certain deadlines and which ones are not as urgent. I then check my emails and see if any emails have arrived overnight or if my supervisor has given me any new tasks to add to my list. This is even more important now I am qualified and becoming responsible for my own case load whilst still being delegated work from my supervising Partner.

On most days, a large portion of my time could be taken up by answering phone calls from clients on emails or letters that we have sent them or on questions that they may have on their matters. Managing and prioritising your time is a key skill that you will quickly pick up and it is essential to learn how to juggle your time effectively.

As I go through my list of tasks I cross off the ones which I am able to complete and make notes against the tasks which I have not been able to finish. I may need to come back to the task if I am missing information (for example if I need instructions from a client on a drafting point in a lease) or if the task is particularly lengthy and it requires further work.

Once it gets towards the end of the day I reassess whether or not I have any urgent tasks that need to be carried out that day and if I do, I make sure that I prioritise that task. Otherwise I will try and get through as much as I can before the end of the day. My final job is to make a list of the tasks that I need to do the next day. This will be a range of tasks that I did not complete that day but will also be new tasks which have come in through the day and need to be dealt with.

The responsibility I was given as a Trainee has given me a strong foundation on which to start my journey as a newly qualified Solicitor. The transition has been a smooth one with me continuing to work on the matters I was previously working on.  There is an expectation of me to begin building relationships with new contacts and start to bring in work of my own.  I have been attending young professionals networking groups throughout the latter half of my Training Contract and am continuing with these now I am qualified.  The Firm encourages personal development and supports me in going out to meet new business contacts.

My training with Butcher & Barlow has been thorough and enjoyable, and I look forward to continuing to learn from those more experienced than me, and carving out a niche of my own within the department.

There are many advantages of training in a regional firm compared to a larger city or magic circle firm.

The main advantage is probably the responsibility that you are given from day one.

As a Trainee in the Litigation department at our head office in Bury, I work directly with the Managing Partner of the Firm.  This affords me the opportunity to gain invaluable experience learning from a Legal 500 ranked lawyer who has over 20 years’ experience in the area and who is an accredited Member of the Law Society Clinical Negligence Scheme. In a ‘Magic Circle’, or City law firm it would be very unusual for a trainee to work with somebody so high up in the firm and you may never even meet the Managing Partner.

I have been given the responsibility to conduct the initial meeting with the clients and take an active role in all stages of the litigation process – from meeting the clients and taking their instructions, to drafting Particulars of Claim and other formal documents, to liaising with Counsel and relevant experts and attending Court hearings/trials.

This differs somewhat to training with a larger firm where the interaction with clients/counsel/counterparts is very limited and a large proportion of work is centred on more research based and admin tasks.

The litigation work is very varied at the Bury Office which has allowed me to gain experience in a greater number of areas which is crucial for making a more rounded and knowledgeable qualified solicitor. The areas I work in are clinical negligence, contentious probate, and commercial and property litigation.

There is no such thing as a ‘typical day’ working in the Litigation department; one day I could be reviewing medical notes/reports for a potential clinical negligence claim, the next I could be in a conference with Counsel discussing case strategy or drafting a letter of claim in a boundary dispute – no two days are the same and this is what I find most interesting and engaging.

Working at Butcher and Barlow allows me to put into practice what I learned at University and see how the legal principles you learn at an academic level translate into everyday use in a commercial and business environment.

At Butcher and Barlow, you are valued as a key member of the team in the firm and treated as such. This is reflected in the opportunities you are given to be heavily involved in all stages.

I have found that having this exposure, although at times difficult, has given me the confidence and skills I need for when I qualify to become a competent and successful solicitor.

I joined the Private Client department at the Bury office in September 2018 for my second seat at the Firm. I was warmly welcomed by Partner and head of department Chris Hopkins, fellow Paralegal Emma Delaney and Chris’ secretary, Linda Barlow.

It is always slightly daunting starting a new seat as it can feel like you are starting a new job every six months! However, the team made me feel at ease straight away and I was thrown in at the deep end with a fun quiz with the whole of the Bury office.

Chris is a hands-on training Partner and got me involved from the outset. I would sit in with Chris on all of his meetings, whether it was a Will signing or a lengthy meeting about Probate or Inheritance Tax. This enabled me to get a feel of the way Chris worked with clients, what type of clients we  acted for and how to approach different topics, which helped me immensely. I found it much easier to learn when I was experiencing the work first hand and it helped me develop my own style and approach to clients.

My days began with arriving at work nice and early to get a head start on the emails I had received whilst I was away from the office. This was also a good time to make a list of the files I had to deal with that day and put them in order of priority. I would also locate and briefly review the files which we had client meetings with on that day so that they were fresh in my mind.

Despite thinking otherwise before I joined, every day in the Private Client department was different. My work included drafting Wills, dealing with and obtaining Powers of Attorney, obtaining Grants of Probate/Letters of Administration and distributing estates, dealing with Inheritance Tax documentation and continuously interacting and communicating with Clients on a day to day basis. We often visited clients at home if they were elderly or housebound.

I found my time in the Private Client department to be a completely immersive experience and I came away with an abundance of knowledge (in particular when dealing with estate accounts given I am not the best with numbers!) and new-found confidence, which has been put to good use in my subsequent seats.

I have now begun my training contract with Butcher & Barlow and am due to qualify in September 2021. I am currently in a family seat having recently completed a commercial property seat in the Firm’s dedicated commercial office.

Training at Butcher & Barlow provides a varied and hands-on experience.

I joined Butcher & Barlow in July 2017 as a Paralegal and began my Training Contract in September 2018 in the Family department at our Bramhall office.

There is no such thing as a typical day in the Family department. You deal with a wide range of cases and different types of client that you have to constantly adapt your approach. Inevitably, your plan for the day will have changed by the time you finish your first cup of tea. Training with Butcher & Barlow has meant that I have been afforded a good level of responsibility early on whilst still being well supervised. Quite often, I would be advising clients over the phone or face to face and expected to attend Court and undertake real life advocacy – a task that can be extremely daunting but also very rewarding.

Most days would begin by checking my emails to see if anything urgent had come in overnight whilst checking the to-do list I would have created the day before and prioritising the days tasks accordingly. The range of tasks I would be expected to complete could vary from drafting statements and instructions to Counsel, making various types of applications for divorce, child arrangements orders and protective orders such as non-molestation orders, going through a client’s finances in order to make applications for legal aid and preparing bundles for upcoming hearings. Dealing with financial cases in particular often involves going through a large volume of documents relating to both your client’s and the other side’s finances and so attention to detail is vital.

A proportion of the work undertaken at the Bramhall office is publically funded care work. This involves proceedings where the relevant Local Authority is concerned that a child has suffered or is likely to suffer harm in their current placement and makes an application to Court to determine the best care plan for the child or children. These types of cases are often very fast paced and your instructions can change at a moments notice. It is not uncommon to receive instructions for a first hearing at 4:30pm to attend Court the next morning with extremely limited information about the case at hand. This means you have to adapt to change easily and have the ability to think on your feet.

My time in the Family department taught me a great deal about time management and general organisation to keep on top of all matters, especially those adhering to a Court timetable. Possibly most importantly, I learnt a great deal about managing a client’s expectations. The result in a care case is often not what your client wanted at the outset so it is important to be realistic with them and keep all matters in perspective. This can be difficult where a client is so emotionally involved in their case but being realistic about the outcome from the beginning is vitally important so as not to give unrealistic expectations that you inevitably cannot achieve.

The skills I learnt in the family department are ones which I will carry forward through the rest of my training and the rest of my career therefore my time spent there was invaluable.

I trained in the Residential Property department at our head office in Bury between March and September 2019. I had no experience in this area of law prior to this other than from law school but my supervisor understood this. She started me off with some smaller, ad-hoc tasks such as contacting agents and clients to provide updates or obtaining answers to any queries we may have had or acquiring documentation from the Land Registry, such as Official Copies of Title. With guidance from my supervisor and the team I soon picked up the basics and was soon able to understand the process of a conveyancing transaction.

My supervisor also guided me through the various reports that we send to the client at different times during a transaction, such as the Report on Title or Mortgage Report. I was soon able to begin drafting the reports myself as I became further involved in the process and took on more responsibility.

I was given the responsibility of running my own files from start to finish, with supervision and learning as I went on. I began working on sale files and once I was comfortable with these I moved on to running my own purchase files. The responsibility ensured I was challenged and involved in every aspect of the transaction. I was always able to ask questions or check anything I was unsure of with my supervisor or other members of the team.

I enjoyed being fully involved in the conveyancing process and having client contact throughout. It was always very rewarding when the transactions completed. I enjoying getting to know many of the clients and their personal situations which were behind the sale or purchase. The team were also of great help and I built good relationships at work, as I have in each department which I have trained in. The firm has a very close-knit feel to it and, although you are given plenty of responsibility, everyone is happy to help and guide you when needed.

By the end of my time in this seat I was running simultaneous sale and purchase files and felt comfortable in doing so. I was exposed to every stage of the transaction and gained some very valuable experience.

I have now moved move into a commercial seat at the Firm’s Leigh office having already gained experience in family, employment, private client and litigation. My training at Butcher & Barlow has been varied and extensive and has given me an invaluable insight into law in practice.

How to apply



1

Fill in the application form here and return it on line with your CV and covering letter. We’ll get in touch if we like what we see asking you to come in for a first interview.

2

If that goes well, you’ll be asked back for a second interview.

3

If we offer you a Training Contract and you will have finished your studies before your start date, you may be asked to join the Firm as a Paralegal until your Training Contract start date.

Apply for a Training Contract

Complete the application form and upload with your CV and covering letter.

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