What our past and present Trainee Solicitors say about us

Wondering what it’s like to train as a Solicitor with us? Here’s what some of Barcan+Kirby’s past and present Trainee Solicitors say about working with us.

Our current Trainee Solicitors

I joined Barcan+Kirby in July 2018 as a full-time Paralegal in the Care team whilst undertaking the LPC part-time, where I was quickly exposed to a variety of invaluable experiences, whilst being supported by the team throughout. During my time as a Paralegal, I refined my client care skills, time management and ability to work to a high standard under pressure. This experience prepared me well for life as a Trainee Solicitor and I secured a training contract to commence in September 2021.

During my training contract, I have undertaken seats across various offices within the Family, Clinical Negligence and Litigation departments, and I am now in my final seat in the Private Client department. Although all teams work very differently from one another and I have had to adapt quickly to the different types of work and ways members of the team work, all teams have been incredibly supportive and genuine in wanting to further my learning and give me as much experience as possible. Every seat has had something different to offer but with each seat, I have built on core skills and my confidence has increased, which means I have been able to hit the ground running and work more efficiently with each seat change.

I have really enjoyed getting to know so many colleagues across the different offices, from my seat rotations and from my work within the committees. I have felt like a valued member of each team, I have been able to benefit from all of my colleague’s knowledge and experience and received so much guidance and support. As I am approaching the end of my training contract, I feel the firm and my colleagues, along with the training I received from the firm’s Training Academy, has thoroughly prepared me for qualification and will give me the best possible start for this next chapter.

Alicia Perry-Watts| Solicitor

“Barcan+Kirby were really flexible when it came to choosing which seats I wanted to do which allowed me to have a lot of exposure across a variety of transactions. Each team involved me in interesting and important work in a wide range of legal issues –  fee earners are keen to give trainees responsibility and I had the opportunity to lead on a number of matters.

Regardless of their role at the firm, everyone at Barcan+Kirby is really approachable and supportive of the trainee’s development. The firm has set up the Barcan+Kirby Training Academy, where trainees and junior lawyers meet every quarter and are provided with training sessions to develop key skills in readiness for qualification. These meetings were one of my favourite parts of the training programme –  it was a great way to connect with other staff members and seek advice from senior staff about becoming a Solicitor.”

Courtenay Salway | Trainee Solicitor

“I started my training contract with Barcan+Kirby in September 2021. My first seat was in the Clinical Negligence and Personal Injuries department. From my first day, I was made to feel very welcome and quickly felt like one of the team. I received excellent training through ‘Lunch & Learn’ sessions, which were run by the Partners, Associates and Solicitors in the department, giving me a fantastic opportunity to build a rapport with the whole team. I felt supported by my supervisor throughout my seat and I am very proud of the skills I have developed during my first 6 months with Barcan+Kirby.

I was very excited to join the Barcan+Kirby Training Academy (BKTA). Through the BKTA I have been able to develop other important skills, such as time recording and networking. I also met the other trainee solicitors through the BKTA, who have all been very supportive and helpful as I start my journey as a trainee solicitor.”

Jessica Bradley| Trainee Solicitor

Our past Trainee Solicitors

“I joined Barcan+Kirby in 2018 so that I could gain some experience of working in a law firm whilst I was studying for my LPC. I enjoyed it so much that when it came to apply for a training contract it was the only place I applied. I was pleased to start my training contract in January 2021.

Each seat of my training contract gave me an opportunity to learn skills particular to that area of law and get to know people at different offices. The pace and content of the work varied a lot depending on which seat I was in, and I was always given a good level of support from my supervisors and colleagues in adjusting to each change.   

When I qualified as a residential conveyancing solicitor in January 2023, I chose to stay at Barcan+Kirby. This was partly because they were keen to advertise a suitable role for me if possible, and I felt reassured knowing I would be with lovely people in a supportive environment. However, I also chose to stay because there was an opportunity to work with a new team in another part of Bristol, so it felt like a whole new experience and challenge.”

Holly Kilpatrick | Solicitor, Residential Conveyancing

“I joined Barcan+Kirby as a Trainee Solicitor in January 2021. I completed seats within the Corporate and Commercial, Commercial Property and Litigation departments. I enjoyed working closely with different fee earners from across the firm, learning from and watching how different colleagues approach their work.

Being part of the Barcan+Kirby Training Academy provided a great opportunity to meet up with colleagues from across the firm, to exchange ideas and experiences – with the goal of developing an understanding of what it takes to be a well-rounded lawyer.

Throughout my training, the firm were really supportive in helping me to decide which area of law I wanted to qualify into. I was given exposure to a wide variety of work and opportunities to work closely with experienced staff on complex matters.

I qualified as a solicitor into the Litigation team here at Barcan+Kirby in January 2023.  I am looking forward to developing my knowledge and skills within a supportive team environment and under the guidance of some of the leading litigators in Bristol.”

Joe Hedges | Solicitor, Property Litigation

“Since joining Barcan+Kirby as a Trainee Solicitor in September 2019, I have had the opportunity to gain experience in a variety of legal departments, undertaking many different types of fee earning work. I have completed seats within the Private Client and Family departments, and Litigation. Across all of these departments, I felt welcomed and valued as part of the team, whilst also encouraged and trusted to take on the responsibilities of a fee earner.

I qualified as a Solicitor in September 2021 into our Family team.

My supervisors in each seat were always very supportive, consistently making themselves available to discuss and review my training progress. My colleagues across all teams were always to happy to help and assist, and provide guidance by sharing their experiences and knowledge.

In addition to fee-earning work, there are many opportunities to get involved in the firm by joining the Barcan+Kirby committees. Doing so means you feel part of something wider than simple your training, and allows you the opportunity to meet colleagues from across the firm, helping shape the culture and environment in which you and your colleagues work.”

Stephanie Pugh | Solicitor, Family

“I joined Barcan+Kirby as a Trainee Solicitor in 2008 and I haven’t looked back. I am now an Associate in our Family team, and I feel lucky to have been given as much experience as I did during my training contract, and that once I qualified, I had obtained the necessary skills to hit the ground running in whatever area of law I chose to practice in.

Barcan+Kirby has provided me with guidance and assistance, and supported my career progression. The firm has a clear progression route and will help support staff who wish to develop their career, and will offer clear guidance and support should I wish to progress my career further.

Barcan+Kirby has a mentoring scheme which is open to every member of staff. If there is something that you wish to work on, such as progressing your career, improving/learning new skills, or obtaining further professional qualifications, I know that I can access this scheme for support.

Through the Associates Academy, I was given the opportunity to create and implement a staff rewards scheme across the whole firm. It feels good to know that I can be involved in projects which make a difference to the entire firm. Barcan+Kirby makes every member of staff feel valued.”

Charmaine Moger | Associate, Family

“After joining Barcan Woodward in September 2012 as a family Paralegal, I began my training contract in January 2014, sitting in the Family, Conveyancing, and Personal Injury/Medical Negligence departments. During the course of my training contract, Barcan Woodward merged with Kirby Sheppard meaning that the firm I qualified into was Barcan+Kirby.

After qualifying, I was offered a role as a Solicitor in the family department. I am now five years qualified and an Associate, specialising in matrimonial finance.

I felt incredibly well supported throughout my training contract and, even though the firm I qualified into was technically a different firm to the one I began my training with, I was kept well informed throughout the process, and never felt that the merger would restrict my opportunities to progress.

This support has continued throughout my employment. I’m lucky to work with a fantastic team of people, and there is no member of my department who I couldn’t turn to for advice and support, either with my cases or more generally. As a staff member, I feel trusted and valued, and have been given many opportunities, not only to progress my own career, but to contribute to the progress of the firm as a whole.

Gareth Hughes | Senior Associate, Family

Interested in training as a Solicitor with us?

Applications for our 2024 training contracts are now closed. Keep an eye on this page and our social media for details of our 2025 programme.