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1 Contact us Tel: Your career starts here.

2 Contents. The facts What we do Before you start Training contract Out of the office In our own words Charity Qualification Former trainees have their say A day in the life of The recruitment process A helping hand

3 The facts. What we do. Higgs & Sons is now one of the largest, most experienced and respected law firms in the West Midlands, employing over 170 staff. We are well recognised in the Legal 500 and Chambers Guide to the Legal Profession. Higgs & Sons is different from the typical law firm. We successfully combine traditional values with an innovative approach to legal problems which has helped us to attract an impressive client base whilst also staying true to our local community. Clients and staff alike are attracted to Higgs ability to offer an all round service in a number of areas. We are proud to provide a supportive and friendly working environment within which both colleagues and clients can thrive. The opportunity for career progression is also clear as more than half of our partners trained with the firm. Every person pictured in this brochure is an existing or former trainee with the firm. We provide a complete service across a full range of legal specialisms. Whilst we primarily offer the following services to clients, we have substantial experience and expertise in a number of other disciplines. You will have the opportunity of undertaking seats in any of the following: Employment Commercial Property Commercial Family Private Client Corporate Residential Property Dispute Resolution Personal Injury Motoring & Private Crime

4 Before you start. Training contract. We want to help you become part of the Higgs team before you start. A training contract at Higgs is rather different from those offered by other firms. Some of its key features are: You will be assigned a current trainee at the firm as your buddy who will keep in touch with you before you begin working with us. Your buddy will keep you updated on trainee and firm news and answer any questions you may have. We also have a Higgs trainee forum on Facebook so you can keep in contact with us. The unique opportunity to undertake up to six four-month seats in a variety of departments The opportunity to spend a double seat in the department into which you wish to qualify as you approach the end of the training contract. This assists in making a seamless transition from trainee to Newly Qualified Solicitor You will be invited to firm events and parties before you start. So your first day at the office won t be as daunting as you would expect. The buddy system is a great way of feeling included before you even start work and an opportunity to find out more about the firm and to ask questions you may otherwise feel uncomfortable asking. Siobhan Mulrey Trainee started in September 2009 Experience in a mix of contentious and non-contentious areas of work An open door policy means someone is always on hand to answer questions and supervise your work Regular appraisals with your supervisors A designated partner who oversees you throughout the contract and is on hand to act as a mentor Professional Skills course via an external course provider

5 Out of the office. A training contract with Higgs is not just the usual office based, 9 to 5 routine. We are keen to develop our trainees careers beyond that of purely legal skills. We like our trainees to get fully involved with firm and client events, sporting pursuits, as well as the more informal trainee nights out. Trainees are encouraged to network with other solicitors and young professionals to raise their own profile, and that of the firm. BTSS We are actively involved with the Birmingham Trainee Solicitors Society (BTSS) and have had trainees elected onto its Committee for the past three years. Our trainees are ever-present at the various sporting and social events that the BTSS holds, including the Annual and Summer Balls. Higgs trainees are also active members of: The Junior Lawyers Division The Wolverhampton Junior Lawyers Division The Birmingham Young Solicitors Group Pint After Work (PAW), a networking group for young professionals Trainees are also encouraged to take part in events as they arise, including breakfast clubs, Law Society dinners and social and sporting events with clients and contacts.

6 In our own words Kate Massey - (University of Cardiff) Jon Start - (Keele University) Siobhan Mulrey - (Aberystwyth University) Erica Wassell - (University of West England) Greatest achievement - being elected onto the BTSS Best moment so far - being involved in a complex First day - we were made to feel like valued members Out of the office - there s so much to get involved in. (Birmingham Trainee Solicitors Society) Committee, after Unfair Dismissal case with a reputable client. of the firm from the very beginning. We were introduced In the past few months we ve had the BTSS summer preparing a manifesto for my position and gaining the The case ended up in the Employment Tribunal, and to every member of staff, and we also got to enjoy ball, wine tasting, an Argentinean tango class and support of fellow trainees to elect me. after seemingly swinging for and against us, it finally drinks and nibbles with the other trainees, NQs and a various other sporting, networking and training events. resolved with the best possible outcome for our client. number of the partners. Vicki Bennett - (University of Birmingham) Sarah Popplewell - (University of Kent) Lauren Morris - (University of Liverpool) Richard Ferguson - (University of Leicester) Why Higgs? - Because the firm is large enough to Why Higgs? - The appealing thing about Higgs is that Interview - although the thought of a training contract Interview - within 5 minutes the interview felt different to provide great exposure within a broad range of practice there is such a wealth of experience and expertise but at interview can seem a little daunting to a prospective any other; there were no trick questions, just who are you? areas whilst remaining able to guide and mentor its the same time the firm has a real personal feel about it. trainee, the interview panel were very personable and Everyone was really friendly and the tour of the office with trainees. seemed to take a real interest in my responses. a current trainee was a great chance to ask questions.

7 Charity. Qualification. We are keen to give something back to the community. Each year the trainees are given responsibility for organising fundraising events throughout the year for the firm s chosen charity. In previous years, Higgs & Sons has supported Macmillan Cancer Support, The Prince s Trust, Sunfield School, Headway and Wings. The trainees have organised various events to raise money and awareness, involving both staff and clients, such as a six-a-side football tournament, a charity Olympics tournament, a race night and an annual quiz. These events help to get the firm involved with the community, as not only do trainees help to raise much needed funds, they also commit to spending at least one day each year working for the chosen charity. The work done and money raised for Macmillan Cancer Support by the trainees will make a significant difference to local people living with and affected by cancer. The events they put on were fantastic and it was great to see people so willing to show their support and get involved. We sincerely thank them and the firm for all their terrific efforts throughout the year. Cheryl Bradburne, Macmillan Cancer Support We have an excellent retention rate for trainees, and the emphasis on education and development does not stop once your training contract has ended. Spending the double seat in your preferred department at the end of your training contract means you can really hit the ground running when you qualify. It all helps to make the jump from trainee to qualified solicitor as smooth as possible. And once you have qualified, the opportunities to progress are what you make of them. The move from trainee to Newly Qualified has been a smooth one. This is because I had an opportunity to really settle into the Commercial department before I qualified. I already felt like part of the team, making qualification a lot easier. Amy Shakespeare, Solicitor We have really enjoyed working alongside Higgs & Sons and are extremely grateful for their support with raising such a large amount. I hope that all who became involved with the fundraising events have found the experience really worthwhile. Janet Jones, Head of Fundraising, Mary Stevens Hospice

8 Former trainees have their say: Nick Vernon Upon completing my training, I qualified into the Employment department in The various different skills required to be a good lawyer need to be developed from the moment you finish Law School to when you qualify as a Solicitor and beyond. It is crucial, therefore, that a training contract provides the right guidance, structure and variety in order to develop those skills. Higgs & Sons places a real emphasis on developing its trainee solicitors. Colleagues make a genuine effort to ensure that trainees are given the support and responsibility needed to grow as lawyers. You are treated as a valued member of the team and exposed to a challenging and varied workload. In addition, the open-door policy ensures that you are never afraid to seek advice, no matter how trivial the query may be! The quality of training you receive ensures that the transition to qualification is a smooth one. In particular, the opportunity of spending the eight months before you qualify in your preferred department makes the leap from trainee to newly qualified solicitor as seamless as possible. Higgs & Sons is a great place to train and work. In addition to a genuinely high quality training contract, there are numerous sporting and social events which the trainees get involved in. The fact that many of the current partners trained with the firm is testament to the fact that it s a good place to work with real opportunities beyond qualification! Former trainees have their say: Paul Hunt Our trainee programme is something I feel passionately about. I think that is one of the things Higgs & Sons does best. Year on year we look to improve the training experience by listening to what our trainees and young solicitors tell us, and responding to their ideas. I believe our approach produces technically able, well-rounded solicitors who are not daunted by life after qualification. Having trained with the firm myself, I want to give all of our trainees the sorts of opportunities I was given. It gives me real pride to see our young lawyers succeed and shape the future of the firm. Paul Hunt, Managing Partner Nick Vernon, Solicitor

9 A day in the life of... The recruitment process. I am a first year trainee with the firm and I am currently in the Motoring and Private Criminal department. Due to 3.00pm We have a new client coming in today. I take minutes of the meeting. Who should apply? the diverse nature of the work no two days are the same for a trainee at Higgs, but here is an overview of what I did today: 8.45am I arrive at the office and check my s and voic . I received an invitation to attend a seminar next week and book this in my diary. 4.30pm I return to my desk and dictate notes of the meeting. I write my to do list for tomorrow and ensure that I have nothing outstanding for the day. 6.00pm I leave the office; it s been a busy day! Applications are welcome from law and non-law students who can demonstrate consistently high academic records. We want fully rounded personalities and people we would like to work with, during the training contract and beyond. Deadline Deadline for applications is 18th August each year. We recruit 2 years in advance. 9.05am I make a call to chambers regarding an ongoing Candidates will preferably have a 2:1 class degree, issue. I speak to the clerk and he provides me with but candidates with a 2:2 will be considered. an update. I record the conversation and inform my supervisor. I then dictate a letter to the client updating him on the progress. Selection process 9.10am My supervisor asks me to research a technical health and safety issue which needs to be resolved quickly. It s a straightforward interview with a panel from the firm s Trainee Committee. We don t subject How to apply 11.00am I attend an appointment at the police station with my supervisor; we are accompanying our client to an interview under caution. 1.00pm Lunchtime; I meet with the other trainees at a local café. you to any trick questions, assessment days or psychometric testing. We just want to get to know you and let you find out about us. Simple. After the interview you will be given a tour around our offices by a current trainee, who will introduce you to some of our people and answer any of your There is an online application form on our website pm Back to work, I finish off the research task and relay my findings. questions - even the ones you didn t want to ask the interview panel.

10 A helping hand Tips on how to apply: If completing your application by hand, please write legibly. We cannot process your application if we cannot read it! Remember, this is your opportunity to sell yourself. Think about what you have achieved, both academically and otherwise; what you have gained from those achievements and what skills you have acquired? Tell us about any work experience you have gained, both legal and otherwise. Have you travelled? If so, tell us about it! What makes you different? Salary and benefits. Competitive salary (see our website for up to date information) Private Medical Insurance Life Assurance Contributory Pension

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