Joanna Howard

 

 

I graduated from the University of Southampton with a degree in History in 2008. Before I joined BWB
in 2011 as a full-time paralegal in the Charity and Social Enterprise department, I completed my GDL
and LPC at BPP. During this time I also held a number of part-time jobs as well as volunteering at
Cancer Research and my local Citizens Advice Bureau. From my vacation schemes and work
experience I knew that I wanted to train in a commercial law firm and that I also wanted to work in
sectors and for clients that I found interesting. When I found BWB, a commercial law firm with the
leading charity and social enterprise lawyers in the country, I felt I had found the perfect fit.

Within my first few weeks at BWB as a paralegal I was involved with the establishment and
registration of a charity set up in response to a humanitarian crisis which was then reported in the
media. I was impressed early on by having lots of responsibility and working closely with clients, my
colleagues’ commitment to their work and the important work of our clients.

The firm supports collaborative work between departments and people who get involved in sectors by,
for example, being a governor, a trustee or speaking at conferences. While I was a paralegal I did a
considerable amount of work with the schools team which developed in response to a change in the
government’s education policy. My involvement included research of the new policy and legislation,
working with clients who were involved in these new developments and assisting at training for clients
and conferences. For the last few years I have also been a trustee of a small charity for young people
with learning disabilities. I am keen to be involved in my local community and this is a rewarding role
which has also provided me with valuable skills and experience.

I started as a trainee in September 2014 in the Corporate and Commercial department. Although it is
daunting to move to a new area, I have had an excellent start and can appreciate already the value
that securing a training contract has had for my learning and development. I have attended meetings,
drafted detailed pieces of advice and complex agreements, discussed issues, attended networking
events and helped to write the department’s newsletter. I have not had many administrative tasks and
partners have been generous with their time and commitment to my learning. I am very much looking
forward to working with the other departments within the firm.

I am slightly older than many of my peers from the LPC were when they started their training
contracts and for me this has been a huge advantage as my experience means that I can hit the
ground running. For those who have extra experience or who are not coming straight from university
then do not be put off. BWB offers high quality, interesting work to those trainees who are able to
make the most of the valuable training.

Finally, the firm encourages everyone to get involved with its wider community such as a fundraising
bake-off competition, the netball team or one of the many events organised by the social committee.
These are a few of the many reasons that people enjoy their time at BWB.