Clare Wilson

Solicitor, Private Client

Education: Law, Cambridge
Joined: As a trainee 2006
Practice area: Private client

Q. Why did you apply to Macfarlanes?

A. When I was considering which law firms to apply to for a training contract, Macfarlanes really stood out due to its strengths in both corporate and private client work. That was a big selling point for me, as most firms tend to focus on one or the other, and I knew that I wanted to have the opportunity to experience working for individuals as well as their businesses.

I also did a vacation scheme at Macfarlanes which I really enjoyed. Everyone I met was very welcoming and seemed to genuinely enjoy their work - something which is extremely important given the amount of time you spend at work!

Q. Were you surprised at the commercial element of private client?

A. Very surprised. If I had been asked to describe what private client work entailed before I started my six month seat, I would probably have listed wills and probate but not much else. However, once I joined the group, I realised that the work is much more wide-ranging - a huge number of our clients are successful business people and so expect our advice to cover their business interests as well as their personal assets.

Q. Do you work closely with other practice areas in the firm?

A. Absolutely. On any given day, a client could ask us to assist them in relation to any legal issue, whether that may be the purchase of a property, a dispute with an employee, the sale of their business or the establishment of a trust structure for the benefit of their family. Therefore, it is vital that we are able to call upon the expertise of our colleagues across the firm so that we can provide a comprehensive service to our clients.

Q. How would you describe the culture at Macfarlanes?

A. From day one, I have found Macfarlanes to be a very welcoming place. We have an open door policy (which applies to everyone - even the partners!) and so it is easy to pop into someone else's room to discuss a difficult issue or just to have a chat. Our Friday night tradition of having a quick after work drink in a nearby pub also helps ensure that we all know each other, even if we have never worked in the same team.

Q. How does the level of responsibility change when you qualify?

A. On my first day post-qualification, I was pretty nervous when I arrived into the office. However, I soon realised that, although the level of responsibility does increase, there is always someone on hand to ensure that no disasters occur! I was also relieved to discover that the partners did not expect me to suddenly know everything there is to know about law, just because I had completed my two-year training contract.

Having said that, the most effective way to learn is through experience. Issues I now deal with without a second thought would have seemed very scary two years ago when I was much less experienced.

From day one, I have found Macfarlanes to be a very welcoming place. We have an open door policy and so it is easy to pop into someone else's room to discuss a difficult issue or just to have a chat.
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