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Emma Richards

Emma Richards is a first year Trainee at Rollits in Hull and her first seat is in the dispute resolution department.

November 2021 - I can’t quite believe that I am already half way through my first seat. This month has gone scarily quickly. I feel very comfortable in the department and it would be fair to say that I have a basic grasp on how the department seems to operate.

I have had more client contact and I have learned what standard of work is expected of a trainee.

We have a few more social events coming up over the Christmas period, and it’ll be good to spend some time with everyone from the department outside of a work environment.

There have been some quieter periods during this month, but the firm have access to a very large online database of webinars which has enabled me to learn about other areas of law when I’ve been a bit quieter. I’m sure some of this knowledge will be transferable to other departments.

I am getting more used to the office environment - despite it originally being a difficult transition given my previous line of work. I have had more opportunity to get to know people from different departments.

When I first started at Rollits, I expressed an interest in agriculture. Since then, the lawyers have tried to involve me with any matters that are agricultural related, even being given work relating to this from other departments.

I have also had some more personal issues in the last week, and Rollits have been extremely supportive in the form of their well-being companions and have also been extremely accommodating. They have made everything significantly easier.

I’m looking forward to the festive period and the winding down towards Christmas.

October 2021 - This month has absolutely flown by. I have found that this month I have settled in more to the department and I have started to get used to how things work practically within the department. I have spent more time getting to know everyone too and everyone has been incredibly friendly.

I have been given more work to do this month and with that comes more responsibility. I have a few matters that I have been dealing with, overseen by Chris Drinkall. It’s great to get this hands on experience and start to build relationships with clients from the outset.

I am getting to grips with more detailed legal research, as this is one of my primary tasks on a day to day basis. I have had more client interaction, in the form of phone calls and emails.

I have also had the opportunity to go to the County Court in Hull with Chris Drinkall and attend a site visit in Withernsea in order to advise on a matter that I am working on under the supervision of Chris.

It’s been great to get this practical experience, and getting out of the office every now and then to see what we’re dealing with in real life is really interesting too.

Coming from a job where I was outside 7 days a week to an office environment has been a difficult transition but has been made significantly easier by a friendly and comfortable office atmosphere. I’m also ironically enjoying the routine of having set working hours. Saying this, the firm are extremely flexible and accommodating and have given us the chance to voice our opinion on a more flexible way of working in the future.

I enjoy the social aspect of the office too, it is particularly helpful on lunch breaks to be able to talk to other trainees about the work that they’re doing. The second year trainee’s and newly qualified solicitors are great to get advice from and have some really helpful advice regarding the PSC course that we will have to do as trainee’s.

All in all, time is going so quickly and I’m really enjoying my role in the firm. I’m looking forward to having more responsibility and work to do over the upcoming months.

My route to Rollits

My education started at St Andrews Primary School in Kirk Ella before attending Hull Collegiate School (recently renamed as Tranby). I obtained a music scholarship on entry of Collegiate and finished year 11 with a solid set of GCSE’s.

Throughout my teenage years, I had wanted to be part of the mounted police division. I soon realised that I was far too scared to do such a job and my interest turned to the ‘safe’ side. I intended to leave Collegiate for Wyke College to study law but the year that I intended to do this, Collegiate began to offer Law as an option for A level.

I stayed at Collegiate and opted to study Law, Music and Art. Despite never really being particularly academic, I immediately clicked with Law and found it really enjoyable. I went on to win the Law Award at Collegiate during year 13.

It was around this time that I began farming part time in addition to my studies and developed a passion for agriculture. When I first started studying A level law, I had no idea that there were so many areas of law. I thought I would always do criminal law. I quickly discovered that there may be a way I could cross over the two things I enjoyed most at the time - farming and law.

After achieving an A* at A level law, I attended the University of Hull to study LLB Law. I didn’t really have the ‘typical’ student lifestyle. I much preferred being in the working world but I knew that I had to do the degree to get to where I wanted to be. Throughout my degree, I carried on farming on the days that I didn’t have to be in uni and would often take my uni work and complete it sat in a tractor which for me was brilliant. University wasn’t a brilliant experience for me however I’m still happy to have completed my degree with a 2:1.

In addition to this, I completed several work experiences in the legal sector throughout my degree to ensure that this career was really what I wanted. I completed placements at Ropes and Gray in London, Park Lane Chambers in Leeds, 3 Raymond Buildings Chambers in London and Sandersons Solicitors in Hull.

After my undergraduate degree, I attended the University of Law in Leeds to undertake the Legal Practice Course with integrated MSc in Law and Business. This course was done through the pandemic so despite being academically surprisingly easy, it was nonetheless quite demotivating and I was more than ready to just start my career with Rollits.

I (successfully) applied for the Rollits training contract in September 2019 whilst sat in a pea field during Birds eye’s pea season. I distinctly remember looking into the firm and seeing that the firm had strong agricultural connections and intentions to progress this department. It reaffirmed my reasoning for starting a career in the Legal Sector.

Aside from law, in my spare time, I spend a lot of time walking my dog (Bella) and spend 5 days out of 7 in the gym training. I play the violin, starting at the age of 3 and a half. I obtained grade 8 distinction and have since had multiple opportunities to play with the BBC symphony orchestra in London. I enjoy clay shooting and generally being in the middle of nowhere! During lockdown I started my own artwork business, which grew as a result of my social media platforms expanding and has enabled me to be self-employed through the pandemic.

What it is like starting a training contract with Rollits?

The first month here has gone scarily quickly. Everyone has been very welcoming and I feel as though I have settled in incredibly quickly. Everyone has been very helpful and answered any questions that I have.

The first week consisted of various inductions, learning how to use the Rollits system and getting acquainted with all of my colleagues. As mentioned, it has been surprisingly easy to settle in and has been significantly less stressful than I expected.

I attended the Old Hymerian Dinner at the end of my first week which was slightly daunting but provided an excellent opportunity to meet a range of people and begin networking within the legal sector. In addition, Rollits held a wine tasting event which was a great opportunity to chat to colleagues in a less formal setting. It’s been really great to get to know the other trainees too, we all seem to get on well.

My first seat is in Dispute Resolution and has completely taken me by surprise. During the Legal Practice Course, I particularly disliked studying Dispute Resolution but I’m really enjoying it in practice. I love the varied nature of the sector and I particularly enjoy the contentious aspect to it.
So far I have been doing a range of work such as research, drafting letters, drafting forms, client phone calls and client emails. It’s really great to finally get some hands on experience.

I am really enjoying my start to working at Rollits and enjoying working within the Dispute team who have been really friendly and I am looking forward to the upcoming months to see how things progress.

Want to apply?

If you would like to apply to be a trainee at Rollits, please visit our Training Contracts page.

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