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What is the graduate scheme at Frettens like?

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What is the graduate scheme at Frettens like?

Zoe Burcombe, James Privett and Katelyn Webster were the first to join Frettens’ all new Graduate Scheme and are completing their first year.

In that year, they worked as Graduate Legal Assistants in our Conveyancing, Commercial Property and Family Teams respectively.

Now they’re moving on to the second year, where they’ll work as trainees whilst completing the SQE.

In this article, Zoe, James and Katelyn discuss their experiences with the graduate scheme at Frettens and answer any questions you might have.

How was your first year?

James Privett said: “My first year has been a great experience. I’ve learnt a huge amount of valuable information and I’ve had an incredibly supportive team around me who have been there to help every step of the way."

What was it like coming from Bournemouth University?

James is a recent graduate of Bournemouth University, where many of our younger hires have come from.

“It was quite a change coming in from university. I thought the transition from making your own timetable to 9-5 would be difficult, but it has been really smooth. Frettens have been accommodating and have made sure that I’m enjoying myself here.

What’s your role like?

James continues: “I came here as a legal secretary in the commercial property department doing a variety of administrative tasks.

Since then, I’ve made a lot of progression and my team have helped me to take on more responsibility. Now I’m moving onto being more of a legal assistant.”

What’s it like working at Frettens?

Katelyn Webster, who’s currently working as a Legal Secretary in our Family Department, said: “Frettens aren’t intimidating, stuffy and corporate; like you might expect from the average law firm. They are modern, supportive and provide a really friendly environment to work in.

There’s a good balance of age groups here, and everyone is from different walks of life. I love that everyone is here to support you, even if you’re in a different department, no matter how big or small the question is.

What are the staff events like?

“There are lots of staff events and get-togethers” says Katelyn.

“Everyone looks forward to the bigger events like the Summer and Christmas Parties, but there’s also smaller, regular events like first Friday drinks which are lovely. Not to mention the charity volunteering that Frettens get involved in, those events are very rewarding.”

Why did you choose the graduate scheme and not the LPC?

Zoe Burcombe works as a Paralegal in our Conveyancing Department, and actually considered the LPC before deciding on the SQE.

“I chose the LPC before I knew that the graduate scheme was available, but I’m so glad that I changed my mind – the graduate scheme at Frettens has so many more advantages!

Student loans don’t always cover everything either! I’ve spoken to people who have had to pay to study the LPC, even with the loan.

The SQE also provides you with 10 days annual leave to study per year. With the LPC, you have to do it in your own time which can be stressful.”

Having peers around you

On the same point, James explained: “Not many graduates are choosing the LPC route anymore, so if you did you wouldn’t have a peer group around you of people going through the same route. With the SQE, you have peers around you to study with.

In addition, everyone’s on different timescales with the LPC because you can start at different points. But with Frettens Graduate Scheme, you all start at the same time and can set up study groups. Everyone’s going through the same experience as you at the same time.”

What type of support are you getting?

Katelyn continued: “There’s a really strong support group at Frettens and a lot of people in the same boat as me who are also looking to progress. Therefore, it’s a lot easier to speak about progression with that support bubble there.

At a lot of firms, you won’t necessarily see the partners that often, especially the managing partner. Here, their doors are always open. It’s a fantastic environment.”

Are you excited for Year 2?

“Year 2 is exciting because the training is different from the traditional training contract. It’s a lot more flexible in terms of where you want to go. Frettens are really accommodating in that they consider which team you want to take training in, they don’t just put you anywhere!

And, unlike the traditional contract, you don’t have to choose both a contentious and non-contentious department to train in.” said Katelyn.

Zoe on Year 2

Zoe added: “I’m excited to try a different area of law with my training seats, as I’ve only really ever been in residential conveyancing.”

There are benefits to working with other departments even if you don’t qualify into them because you get a sense of how they work, especially if you work with those departments or refer work to them. Also, if you want to change specialty along the way you have the starting knowledge and a foot in the door to do so!”

What’s the best thing about Frettens’ Graduate Scheme?

Katelyn continued: “One of the main benefits to the graduate scheme at Frettens is that a path to qualification is clearly set out. This is something you don’t necessarily get with other firms.

Frettens have laid out how the scheme works and how you’re going to get qualifying experience with it, they don’t leave you in the dark.

James and Zoe on the benefits

When asked the same question, James added: “The salary is also really good, especially when you consider that the course is paid for. Sometimes if you’re doing a training contract you have to take a pay cut, but this isn’t the case at Frettens.

And, when you factor in the additional study days that you get, it’s a really good deal. Salary also rises in each year of the scheme, which is a good incentive.”

“I think, for new students, having people available who are on the same route at the same time, and people who have been on that route previously, will be really helpful.” said Zoe. “Even talking things through on your lunch break with peers, such as your options, is beneficial.”

What the career progression like at Frettens?

Katelyn, on the career progression at Frettens: “It doesn’t matter if you apply for a smaller position in the firm, because Frettens will progress you no matter where you start.

If you voice your opinions and communicate with people on where you want to go, Frettens will get you there. The firm also provide ample opportunity for you to speak your mind, especially in the regular career progression meetings.”

James and Zoe on career progression

“Progression is highly advocated for at the firm, it’s really encouraged” said James. “I actually had a career progression 3 weeks into my starting at Frettens! If you start and there’s a career progression meeting next week, my advice would be to go for it! There’s no ‘too soon’ here.”

On the same point, Zoe said: “Frettens also actually act on your goals and career progression meetings, very quickly as well. I’ve had experiences in the past at other firms where they make false progression promises that don’t come to fruition, here that’s certainly not the case.”

What advice would you give to anyone who’s looking to apply

“Join Frettens!” exclaimed Katelyn.

“Reach out to people at Frettens. Even if you don’t know anyone here, or are yet to even apply for a position, reach out! Everyone at Frettens is more than willing to have a chat, if you’ve got LinkedIn – feel free to get in touch!”

How to apply

We are looking for three Graduate Legal Assistants to start with us in September. To apply, please email your CV and covering letter to Catharine Snow, our Operations Manager, at

If you’d like to find out more first, you can visit our Graduate Scheme page here or give us a call on 01202 499255; we’d be happy to chat with you.

Applications close at the end of April.

The content of this article, blog or video is not intended as specific legal advice. For tailored assistance, please contact a member of our team.