Career spotlight: corporate solicitor

In this career spotlight, Ben Edwards shares his career journey, from joining the Corporate team as a trainee, to qualifying as a solicitor

20 June 2022

1. Could you share a brief insight into your experience as a trainee at the firm?

I really enjoyed my experience as a trainee at Burges Salmon, despite the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic only six months in! The six-seat structure suited me very well, as I started without a strong initial preference of where I wanted to qualify; instead, I wanted a broad and varied training contract. At Burges Salmon I was able to get involved with work across multiple teams across the firm, as well as undertaking a valuable client secondment. This has helped me to gain a broad understanding of the services that the firm offers; this has proven to be very helpful in my role in the Corporate team. As standard, trainees return to the department in which they wish to qualify for the sixth and final seat of the training contract, and so this meant that I had a great opportunity to build on and develop skills and connections in the Corporate team into which I qualified (having spent a total of eight months there by the time of qualification).

2. What do you enjoy most about working in the Corporate team?

As a transactional lawyer, I enjoy the collective push to the completion of a deal and the sense of satisfaction felt by all parties when a transaction closes. There is a real collaborative feel to the work in the Corporate team, with everyone pulling in the same direction to achieve a shared objective.

My favourite part about working in the Corporate team at Burges Salmon is the people. The Corporate unit really feels like a team, and, in my experience, this applies across the matter sub-teams working on a particular transaction. Despite the size of the team (with over 40 lawyers in the Corporate Finance unit that I work in) I have had the chance to get to know and build relationships with all my colleagues. Where the hours are longer at points in a transaction, the positive impact of having a supportive and friendly group to work with is incredibly valuable.

3. What kind of social activities or initiatives can you expect to be involved in?

There are plenty of opportunities for social activities and initiatives at Burges Salmon. Personally, I have been involved in regular in-firm football on Monday evenings, and cricket throughout the summer, as well as frequent firm and team socials across the year. These have included a fantastic Corporate team trip to a community farm for our ‘Springfest’, which was followed by a well-attended social in the evening. The junior members of the Corporate team also regularly get together for drinks after work. I know there are countless other activities available to the firm’s people, through ‘BSocial’ (Burges Salmon’s social group that organises theatre trips, music and events), various sports societies, diversity and inclusivity groups, as well as through the individual departments. The firm, relevant committees and the departmental leaders put a lot of work into making all of this happen and there is a real sense that this is something that is valued and prioritised.

4. What is life like as a Solicitor at Burges Salmon?

As a Solicitor as Burges Salmon, you are given lots of responsibility and opportunity to learn and develop. I have felt trusted with a good level of work and exposure to clients, while also feeling supported by the team. Burges Salmon’s work encompasses some great clients in key and developing sectors and as a Solicitor at the firm you are provided with plenty of high-quality work and access to these important and interest clients and sectors.

As a Corporate solicitor, I have been encouraged to get involved with a wide range of different work spanning renewable energy, hotels and leisure, food and drink, financial services, private client and technology. I understand that this reflects the approach across the firm, whereby you are given broad exposure to different sectors and people, all of which helps to develop the skills needed to be a good lawyer.

5. Can you tell us about the different B networks and your own experience of being involved in these?

The firm has four people-led diversity and inclusivity groups: BCultured (the firm’s ethnic diversity and inclusion network), BBalanced (the firm’s gender network), BEnabled (Burges Salmon’s disability forum) and BProud (the firm’s LGBT+ network). I have mainly been involved with BProud, which runs regular social events for its members (comprising LGBT+ people and allies), as well as hosting information sessions, promoting a culture of openness at the firm, and working with local charities. Through BProud’s charity connections I was able to raise money for Brigstowe, a Bristol-based HIV charity, by running the Bristol 10k last year. I have also had the chance to get involved with assisting with the firm’s presence at Bristol Pride (Burges Salmon hosts a stand and supports a presence in the parade) and attending social events such as a recent group trip to the theatre. I was fortunate to have the chance to help with the organisation of a quarterly book club run by the B networks, during which attendees were placed into breakout rooms to discuss in groups one of the chosen book, TV series or podcast for the session, to reflect on the relevant themes, and to share ideas and experiences.

Key contact

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Penny Bowring Resourcing Specialist

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