Graduate careers with Bell Lax
We see the training and development of all our lawyers as an investment in the continued success of the firm. We like to nurture and grow our own. We are looking for individuals who are bright, dynamic and commercially driven who want first class legal training and to learn the business skills to be our directors of the future. If you have drive, ambition, an appetite for contentious work and enjoy putting across your point of view in a persuasive manner, then you could be the type of lawyer we are looking for.
Join a recognised leading firm
Bell Lax is a specialist litigation practice which punches above its weight. We are rated in both Chambers and Partners and the Legal 500. Peter Lax is a leading individual in Chambers, and the Legal 500 comments favourably about Peter, Richard Kerry and Natalie Bradshaw. All three were either solicitors in large Legal 500 firms and/or were trained at Bell Lax. The reason they are now at Bell Lax is that they enjoy a high quality of work and the freedom to practise law in an innovative and entrepreneurial way that is attractive to clients. This means Bell Lax is well placed to meet the challenges facing the legal profession and use them to drive the business forward.
When we recruit lawyers at any level, we are looking for individuals with the potential to become directors of the business. Indeed, two of our current directors trained at Bell Lax.
It is vital to us that our lawyers thrive and enjoy the challenges we provide in a collaborative and supportive environment, based on excellent teamwork.
The route to a training contract with us
A training contract with Bell Lax is a challenging but rewarding experience.
A successful applicant would usually attend two interviews, one with Richard Kerry & Natalie Bradshaw, and a second interview with Suzanne Holder & Stuart Andrews.
Your training contract would begin with a three month probation period. The purpose of this is to discover whether we are the right fit for you, and vice versa. If we are sure we have the right candidate before they have been with us three months, we do not keep them waiting.
We consider the role of trainee solicitor at Bell Lax to be significantly more challenging and interesting than the role of trainee solicitor in many large city centre firms. You will do far more than photocopying in a training contract with us - you will handle your own files, and often be a client’s first point of contact.
We want all our trainees to acquire the skills to work as successful solicitors with us. Our approach to work means that while directors take an active interest in the tactical side of the cases we handle, the work is done on a day to day basis by the appropriate level of lawyer. For example, directors review all incoming and outgoing post and review all draft court papers. However, as part of our approach, we expect more junior lawyers to take primary responsibility for appropriate cases. That includes considering not just the technical side but also the tactical direction a case is going in, and discussing that with the supervising director. Under this system, trainee solicitors develop the skills they will need as solicitors to handle a case with a minimum of supervision.
The difference in our approach
For starters we do not do bulk routine work. We offer all our clients a director led bespoke approach and every member of our team has a part to play in delivering commercial and effective advice to those clients.
As a valued trainee solicitor, you will have the chance to be directly involved with clients and cases, working alongside directors and across a broad range of areas. You won’t simply be manning the photocopier or pressing a series of buttons to generate standard forms and letters.
From your point of view, after twenty four months with us in mainly contentious work, you will be far better placed to hit the ground running as a litigator upon qualification than many of your contemporaries at other firms, whether that be in our commercial, personal injury or family team. It is fair to say that if you have no interest in contentious work or do not wish to qualify as a solicitor in a contentious area, then Bell Lax is probably not the firm for you. There are many more “generalist” firms, who offer work across many wholly different practice areas. Bell Lax is a boutique litigation firm and we are looking to recruit young lawyers who are committed to becoming litigators.
At the same time we are investing heavily in your future. We aim to develop our lawyers to learn to think for themselves. We value their contribution and reward it. We aim to pay our trainee solicitors above the annual published Birmingham Law Society rate, and we review all our salaries annually. We give all our lawyers, at all levels, lots of hands on experience with appropriate supervision. Because of the variety of work which we carry out, which does include some non-contentious work, we are able to offer experience in a sufficient number of areas to count as a training contract, while also providing a specialised experience for our trainees.
Our selection criteria and how to apply
The ideal applicant will, as explained above, have a proven interest in contentious work. We are looking for excellent academics:
- Good A levels (or equivalent);
- GCSE English and maths (at least B grades, and preferably A grades);
- A 2:1 (or commendation on the GDL), and LPC commendation.
We understand that, due to mitigating circumstances, some applicants will not meet our academic requirements. In some cases, we are prepared to consider applications from exceptional candidates who do not meet our academic criteria.
Ultimately, our trainees can expect to be the first point of contact for many clients and solicitors acting for other parties. Where appropriate, many of our trainees have appeared as advocates in contested court hearings and in the Employment Tribunal. Several trainees have qualified as solicitor advocates and regularly appear against counsel in a variety of complex and reported cases. It is vital that applicants possess proficient written and oral communication skills.
If you would like to apply to join us as a Trainee Solicitor please send a covering letter and CV for the position of Trainee Solicitor to our head of recruitment, Richard Kerry, either by post or email to Richard.Kerry@belllax.com.