Skip to main content

Florence Smart’s Diary

Florence Smart’s Diary

I chose to train at Winckworth Sherwood for its diverse set of practice areas and the promise of a friendly, yet professional working environment. My expectations have been far exceeded to date.

During my first seat I sat with the Planning and Development Risk team. The department is a mixture of semi-contentious and transactional matters, which allows for a broad range of work; I was lucky enough to be involved with a planning Inquiry within my second month at the firm which was certainly a highlight. The client base includes some of the UK’s biggest residential developers as well as large commercial outfits. This, combined with the fast pace of work makes it an exciting seat and an excellent learning environment. From the outset, I was tasked with ‘real’ work so that I felt immediately useful, while at the same time, being trained throughout each task so as to maximise every learning opportunity. I think this is the hallmark of training at Winckworth Sherwood.

My second seat was with the Institutional Property department. The team works primarily with institutions which are also large land owners, such as port and rail companies. In addition to learning valuable commercial property law skills, I was exposed to some interesting niche areas of the law due to the extra layer of regulation which of the department’s clients are subject to. These niche practice areas are another draw of the firm – it is unusual for a city firm to have such a spread of specialisms, including some unusual ones, such as parliamentary and ecclesiastical.

My third seat, sitting with the Commercial Litigation team, was particularly busy and as such, exciting! The work was varied and I found myself assisting with tasks related to the many stages of a dispute; from general advice, pre-action correspondence, preparation for trial, settlement negotiations and appealing a High Court decision. Similarly, the type of disputes were diverse. I dealt with several professional negligence matters, employment disputes, a shareholder dispute and an insolvency matter, to name a few. Most interesting was attendance at a ten-day High Court trial at the Royal courts of Justice on the Strand.

Having enjoyed my contentious seat, I decided to spend my final seat with the Contentious Probate team based in Oxford. Although I have not yet finished, so far this has been another excellent seat and training experience. Again, the matters are diverse, ranging from capacity-related disputes to 1975 Act claims. I have particularly enjoyed dealing with individuals, which makes each case even more unique and requires a strategic approach to case management.

Throughout my training contract, I have been afforded the right level of responsibility; I felt a valued member of each team with real responsibility, but I could always rely on support and advice where required. In short, I feel like I have been well prepared for the transition to NQ.

In addition to the interesting work and excellent training provided by the Firm, Winckworth Sherwood stands out in terms of culture. The buzzy Borough Market location provides a good social backdrop and the Firm attaches importance to its CSR activities. We have frequent charity fundraisers, with the Christmas fair and Carol Service being a highlight.

Winckworth Sherwood is undoubtedly a great place to work, which is why so many lawyers have long careers at the Firm after training here.

Find out more