Alistair Williams


When I applied to study law at university, it was with the vague idea that it would eventually lead to a job working in human rights and/or with NGOs. During my studies I became interested in public law more widely, and used my summer holidays to gain legal work experience and internships with charities or similar organisations. I had decided to apply for pupillages rather than training contracts, partly because of the excitement of litigation that I had seen on mini-pupillages, and partly because my main exposure to solicitors was trainees from magic circle firms complaining about the long hours they worked.

I completed the BPTC, and not having obtained a pupillage, got a temporary job as a case officer at a regulatory body. While looking for a longer-term role, I came across a vacancy in the Public & Regulatory department at BWB. It was clear that this was what I was looking for; a role in a leading public law team within a firm known particularly for its work in the third sector, with a strong social conscience.

From the beginning I was involved in interesting and varied work, expanding my public law knowledge but also learning more about related areas (information law, rights of way, consumer protection, election law). As well as assisting with research, I was involved in litigation, from regulatory tribunals to judicial reviews. My team supported me in representing a client pro bono in a rights of way case before the Magistrates’ Court, and then subsequently in running an appeal to the High Court.

After discovering that BWB offered exactly what I was looking for in a legal career, I applied for a training contract and was happily successful. I continued to work at BWB while studying the LPC. I am now in my first seat – still in the Public & Regulatory department – and enjoying the challenges of being a trainee. I am gaining more responsibility and receiving useful feedback about what I can do to hit the ground running when I (hopefully) qualify.

I am looking forward to getting to know other parts of the firm as my training contract progresses. Whilst I will be moving away from the familiarity of the P&R department, the move will be less daunting because of the firm’s open and collaborative atmosphere. The cross-departmental groups particularly encourage this. For example, the information law group spans several practice areas which allows the insight gained from different contexts to be shared across the firm.

BWB’s reputation as a commercial law firm means that as a trainee you are able to work for some exciting clients, whether in the commercial, charity or public sectors. However, what is particularly great about working for BWB is that this does not come at the expense of personal values: instead you feel you are working for a firm that is actually making a positive impact on society.