Pannone Trainee Diary & Profile

Pannone have kindly allowed us to republish one of their graduate diaries. You can see the other trainee diaries here. There are 6 diaries in total; two testimonials from Pannone trainees who progressed from the position of paralegal to trainee and four Pannone trainees who have written a summary of their typical working day.

A day in the life of a Pannone Trainee

Richard Hill: Second Year Trainee, Pannone
Seats to Date: Dispute Resolution, Construction and Corporate
University: King’s College London
Degree and Class:  BA Hons 1(1)

8.45 am – I arrive at work, check my emails and see if anything urgent has come in that I should deal with immediately. I check my “to do” list and add any extra tasks that appear in my emails.  I grade my “to do” list in order of importance (on a scale of one to four with one being the most importance) so that I know which tasks to do first.

9.00 am – This morning I am drafting a third party legal charge for one of our clients who wishes to obtain a charge in order to secure the goods that they sell to a third party prior to them receiving payment for these goods.  I have had plenty of experience drafting such security and I am confident that I will get this done in around one hour.


10.00 am – Reminders that I have set up in my outlook calendar remind me that I need to perform winding up searches and check the filing histories of several companies.  It is important to check a company’s filing history and to do winding up searches on the day that a transaction is set to complete in order to ensure that there have been no last minute changes to the company that is being acquired.  There are no new filings for the companies and the winding up searches are clear, I therefore update the Partner leading the transaction of this, so that he knows that the transaction can proceed.

10.20 am – One of the partners in the Corporate Finance team asks me if I am able to assist on a transaction that is due to complete next week.  The completion of transactions is an important and interesting part of life in the Corporate team.  I need to prepare and agree with the other side a file containing all of the disclosures that are to be made by our client who is the seller in the transaction.  I log in to a data room that we have set up and start to work through the documents that the client has sent across and upload these to the data room so that the other side’s solicitors can see these documents.  It is important for me to make a note of any substantial issues raised by these documents and in particular to note any that relate to questions asked by the other side in the due diligence questionnaire.

12.45 pm – I move onto the next task on my ‘to do’ list which is to provide a company search on a company that will be giving security to one of our clients in the future.  These company searches are important in order to flag potential issues such as if the company has already given security to others or whether it does not have the powers needed to borrow or to give security.

1.00 pm – I go for an impromptu lunch with the partner with whom I share an office for a catch up and to replenish for the afternoon!

2.00 pm – I recommence the company search started before lunch.

2.45 pm – The company search is complete and I return this to the fee earner responsible for the file.  He asks me if I have capacity to help him on a file that I have previously assisted with.  As I have nothing urgent to do on my ‘to do list’ I say that I can help.  He asks me to telephone the client and obtain some share certificates that the client has hold of.  Upon receipt of these I am to arrange for new share certificates to be issued by the Company’s registrar.  I make the call and I then set a reminder in my Outlook calendar for three days time to ensure that I have received these certificates.

3.15 pm – I now have some internal training on how to use one of the IT systems that we use at Pannone.  This is an update session outlining new facilities to automatically check case and legislation references within documents in order to ensure that they are up to date.  The training sessions that we have are extremely useful and enable us to keep up to date with key issues in the law, develop a range of skills such as networking and improve our IT skills in order to ensure that we can do our work as efficiently as possible.

4.20 pm – I return from the training session to find a note from one of the partners requesting that I do some research into community interest companies, what they can and can not do and whether it is possible for them to convert into a public limited company.  Performing research into new areas of law that I have not studied before is one of the most interesting and challenging tasks as a Pannone trainee.  It enables you to expand your knowledge base and is fundamental to providing efficient and accurate information to clients.

5.45 pm – Pannone organise internal football matches every Tuesday.  Socialising with others at the firm is an important and enjoyable part of life as a Pannone trainee.  As I enjoy playing football I try and go to most of these Tuesday sessions, so I finish my work, meet up with some fellow players and head off to play (or try to play) some football.

If you are interested in applying for a training contract at Pannone please complete the online form. If you have any queries please email us at [email protected].

New Trainee Retention Rates & Analysis

Trainee retention rates have recently been published and actually look quite good. Slaughter and May have published a retention rate of 91% for its newly qualified solicitors. That’s 42 out of 46 trainees retained. The figure from their March intake was at 90%.

Ashurst also increased their retention rate from March. They retained 83% of NQ solicitors up from 78% after 24 out of 27 trainees who applied for solicitor roles were offered employment. SNR Denton’s retention rates were up even more – 83% up from 60%. They are retaining 24 of 29 qualifying trainees.

So the retention rates do seem to be getting better. This should make sense. After all there are 44.5 graduates applying for each trainee solicitor role as I looked at here. So the best of the best should be the only ones getting training contracts. Only people who really want the job and have the ability to be an amazing solicitor. After all the competition, all of  the applications and all of the assessments a firm should be pretty sure that they’ve got the right candidate.

And that’s how I first looked at the figures.

But then I thought about something else. Is the actual training contract just another stage of the interview? Do firms ever intend to keep 100% of their graduates? Or is it a situation where they NEED to eliminate one or two candidates because of budget requirements? I don’t know. But 100% retention rates seem rare, and that seems odd to be because of the intensive recruitment process.

Another way to read the situation is that the trainee retention IS a cost cutting measure. NQ solicitors will need to be paid much less than a senior solicitor or partner. Their wages may even be less than an experienced paralegal or legal assistant. So firms could be cutting several senior jobs and replacing them with NQ solicitors that they view as highly talented. Because of the competitiveness perhaps trainees would settle for a lower wage too?

They would be happy simply getting a job in law and making a respectable amount of money in the process. I’d feel pretty annoyed if I’d worked in a firm for several years, got made redundant, and then the firm keeps 100% of its trainees! However this is just speculation. I have no idea how firms will deal with this sort of process, or the transparency which is involved.

I also found it interesting that graduates resigned; 2 of Slaughter’s trainees resigned before qualification. I guess working in a big commercial firm isn’t for everyone, but they must have disliked it enough to make the 59k NQ salary not worth it!

Other retention rates should be released within the coming weeks. It will be interesting to see if the other firms repeat this upwards retention trend. But it is hard to know what to make of the numbers. Does the fact that we’re in a recession again mean the retention rate is likely to drop soon? Or was I right by saying that retaining more trainees could be saving firms more money overall?

Would love to hear what other people think.