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Trainee Solicitor

Broadens your horizons...

A decision on where to undertake your training contract is a critical one in your career as a solicitor. It's also a vitally important decision for our legal practice to recruit the right people. These will want to be with us and are keen to develop the services that we provide and deliver for our clients.

We are a large new unitary Council, with annual expenditure exceeding £1 billion. Our Legal Service has around 70 staff. They provide comprehensive legal support in the following fields of law:

  • commercial
  • employment
  • corporate governance
  • property
  • planning
  • highways
  • civil and criminal litigation
  • housing
  • education and
  • social care

We provide legal support to the 123 Councillors and various Committees that make up Cornwall Council. We also have a client base of other public service providers in the South West. Our clients provide us with a varied and challenging workload. Below are just some of the initiatives that we have supported our clients on in the past:

  • The procurement of an airline operation for the London to Cornwall route.
  • The delivery of an Eco Town.
  • The prosecution of an unlicensed taxi firm with a turnover of £2 million a year. This resulted in a prison sentence for one of the defendants.
  • Judicial Reviews concerning two major development proposals.
  • The construction of a new £60m dual carriageway.
  • Advising on strategic procurement exercises for joint venture/ partnership agreements.
  • Successfully advising on the merits of an early termination of a large contract, considering performance, breach and damages.
  • Advising on and dealing with the various company structures operated by Cornwall Council.
  • A major £60m rail investment package for a new maintenance depot, new sleeper service rolling stock and a mainline signalling upgrade.
  • The prosecution of a Health & Safety fatality case against a large      national supermarket chain
  • The construction of a new park and ride facility for Truro.

You will be a Fee Earner and will be expected, with the appropriate supervision, to manage a varied and challenging caseload.

  • We offer trainees six month seats within 4 of our specialist fields. This enables our trainees to benefit from and gain a variety of experiences, in both contentious & non contentious areas.
  • We ensure that our trainees benefit from our range of skills and knowledge. They also have training and personal development opportunities from both internal and external providers.
  • We provide our trainees with performance reviews every 3 months. Regular mentoring ensures they develop successfully and are provided with guidance on their career development.
  • We encourage trainees to undertake secondments with our private practice partner firms. This ensures our trainees have a rounded perspective of the legal profession.
  • Our trainees enjoy their experience with us and find it a stimulating and rewarding place to work which is borne out by our high retention rate.
  • As a Local Authority trainee, unlike in private practice, you will have the advantage of rights of audience. This allows you, with appropriate support and guidance, to undertake advocacy in the Magistrates’ Court, County Court and Family Court.

For us, bright, creative and committed trainees are key to building our legal practice for the future. We believe that we offer one of the best training contract opportunities in public service.

We are seeking people who can evidence a strong track record of academic ability, but more than that we are looking for people who can demonstrate:

  • Experience of working within the Legal sector
  • show commitment and take individual responsibility
  • think for themselves and take ownership of difficult problems
  • apply their knowledge positively and look for practical solutions
  • show drive and discipline and a hardworking attitude
  • develop positive professional relationships with colleagues and our client officers

Do you possess the skills and attributes that we are looking for? Do you share our passion for making our clients’ ambitions a reality? If you do then we look forward to receiving your application.

Our trainees must have obtained or be predicted to obtain a 2.1 in their undergraduate degree.

The opportunity to develop your career with Cornwall’s largest employer, coupled with the chance to live in one of the country’s most beautiful counties, makes it clear that we can offer you a lifestyle and level of professional satisfaction that few organisations can match.

Oh yes...and 697 kilometres of spectacular coastline, the best surfing conditions, stunning moors and a vibrant social scene in the night spots of Truro, Newquay and Falmouth.

But don't just take our word for it! Here are three testimonials from our previous Trainee Solicitors as they explain what to expect...

I started my training contract with Cornwall Council in September 2012 and thoroughly enjoyed my experience.

During my time as a trainee I was presented with the opportunity to gain experience in a wide variety of disciplines, including: child protection, commercial and dispute resolution & regulatory, with two mini seats in planning & employment law. While making sure that the necessary seats are covered, my principal was very supportive in allowing me to develop those areas in which I was interested.

Trainees within the Council are very much encouraged and supported in conducting their own matters from the very beginning. This  provided me with wide client exposure and the opportunity to build good client relationships.

 Everyone in the service is approachable and accommodating and it did not take long for me to feel part of the team. I was lucky enough to have benefitted from working alongside other trainees and newly qualified solicitors, who have given me great practical guidance and were able to appreciate what it was like being the ‘newbie.’

As a trainee in local government, I was exposed to a multitude of high calibre work. I was also afforded the benefit of the additional rights of audience available to local government lawyers, which meant that I could put my advocacy skills into practice before the Magistrates and County Courts. This might seem daunting at first but I was supported throughout.

On top of the already diverse and stimulating training I  received during my training contract, I was encouraged to attend various training events, which have aided my professional development. In addition, I had the opportunity to complete a secondment with a leading commercial practice. This provided me with the advantage of having experience of both the public and private sectors and gave me with an insight into the challenges that all lawyers face in today’s legal market.

If a varied, challenging and hands- on training experience is what you are looking for, then Cornwall Council provides the perfect opportunity!

I began my training contract with Cornwall Council in September 2017 and am currently in my first seat in the property and highways team. 

I previously worked in private practice with a large regional firm but applied for a training contract with Cornwall Council because I wanted more of a challenge from my training contract, greater variety in my work and the opportunity to experience a more diverse range of practice areas.  

I was attracted to the prospect of working on cases that directly affect the local area. This environment offers a brilliant foundation for learning the local legal landscape, as well as gaining an understanding of how the public sector works.

There is a political element to local authority legal services which adds a further interesting dynamic to my training contract here. Ultimately we are accountable to the general public, who are represented by elected members; the system of governance reflects this. I was given a very structured induction to develop my understanding of this system and am surrounded by experienced colleagues who were welcoming, approachable and always happy to answer my questions.  

Cornwall Council is proving to be a great environment to train in as I am given the space to learn and the freedom to ask questions in equal measure. From day one I have been given responsibility for my own property matters under the supervision of experienced fee earners. I know that this level of responsibility in a training role is unique and am looking forward to the seats ahead. I would highly recommend training here.

When I joined the Cornwall Council in October 2015, I was promised a challenging and diverse training contract. I have definitely found this to be the case and have completed work in relation to a variety of fields, including dispute resolution, regulatory, property, social care, commercial and employment. Looking back on the past 2 years I can honestly say that it has delivered everything that I wanted in a training contract.

One of the highlights for me personally was getting the opportunity become involved with the widely reported case against BT Cornwall, concerning the Council’s right to terminate its service agreement with BT (worth approximately £300m) due to BT’s material breach of contract.  This gave me the opportunity to work alongside senior solicitors and barristers in the High Court, assisting them with the preparations for trial (e.g. disclosure of documents, witness statements, preparing bundles etc.). 

My training at the Cornwall Council has been excellent. I found that I was given a great deal of responsibility from an early stage to ensure matters progressed, clients were kept well informed and deadlines were met. For those times that I did have questions, everyone in the department was very approachable and provided their full support.  The team were always willing to take time out of their busy day to help me develop as a trainee, which in turn has allowed me to contribute effectively to the success of the department.

This is the perfect training contract for anyone seeking to solve a wide range of legal problems and is motivated to come in and start making a difference from day one.

Follow the link below to apply online for our Trainee Solicitor vacancy:

Apply for Trainee Solicitor vacancy

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In the meantime, please do read our information on help with the recruitment and selection process. In your application you will be expected to relate your experience, qualification and achievements to our Behavioural and Functional Competencies in our Role Profile. The Role Profile will be published when we are ready to recruit.

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