Watson Farley Williams and their trainee blog…

RollonFriday picked this up and, intrigued, I went and had a look for myself. Rollonfriday news is always worth having a look at…you may look at the WFW Blog story here

The concept is a reasonable one. Arrange for new trainees to write something about their experience in the firm to provide prospective applicants for a training contract with an insight into what they can expect. WFW is a well known law firm. Indeed, many years ago I knew one of their more senior partners and had the pleasure of meeting two of the ‘name’ partners. I also had a very good lunch.

However… being the person I am on my blawg, I could not help thinking as I read all the ‘posts’ to the WFW trainee blog posted to date, that it is not so much a blog (It does not use recognised blog software) but is a series of articles in PDF format, written by trainees, obviously scrutinised and cleared by a partner before publication. I have no quarrel at all with that. As I said, above, it is a perfectly reasonable idea. I just wander how many students, reading the ‘reflections’ of the new intake of trainees, will think of dubious Soviet era communications designed to appear open, but pregnant with the control apparatus of the state in the background, and wonder how accurate the ‘insight’ really is. It could backfire.

I will give you a taste and let you judge for yourselves.

Here is Rebecca with her first impressions…

“After being coached in positive first impressions, career development and what not to wear if you want to get to the top, I wonder how many of us were planning a lunch time dash to the shops? We were also given an insight into the intricacies of time recording; I now understand why law schools try to prepare the ground by dividing timetables in to ten minute slots.

There seems to be a refreshingly down to earth and approachable atmosphere, which makes for a welcome contrast to
the tales of trainee baiting and mysterious errands to the post room in some of the larger city firms. Another perk
comes in the form of a first rate restaurant, where food is lovingly served up by a smiling Frenchman. I hear his home
made truffles make the perfect accompaniment to morning coffee. ”

Rebecca, I wish you luck with your truffle eating. Gulp the coffee and consume the truffle quickly. Time is money and…remember that 10 minute time recording slot – rounded up or rounded down? Shopping at lunch time? As McEnroe used to say….”You cannot be serious”.

To give a bit of balance – and have the view of a male trainee – here is Charles…

“There were quite a lot of computers, phones and photocopiers this week. Obviously the management are a little bit
scared that we are going to start undoing the office so the IT trainer and one of the secretaries guided us through all of
the office ‘technology’. This was well taught and well received. “

It is, of course, very important that a lawyer knows how to use a photocopier and a phone system.
And here is a bit from Phillipa…

“Towards the end of the week we were given a talk on ‘Ten pointers for a successful Training Contract’. It may seem like
common sense, but apparently there have, in the past been instances at some firms of trainees being sent home for
drunkenly flirting with clients, and a host of other delights which of course none of the exemplary WFW trainees of
2006 will ever encounter. “

I seem to recall a story in the lawyer many years ago when a Freshfields trainee got drunk at a client event and fell off the boat into The Thames. Perhaps this was an urban myth. Flirting drunkenly with clients? Whatever next. I tend to the view that flirting drunkenly is an occupation which occasionally may bear fruit.

5 thoughts on “Watson Farley Williams and their trainee blog…

  1. Charon,

    I have posted about this as well.

    http://www.human-law.org/humanlaw/2006/09/how_to_create_t.html

    I feel that the crux of what you write is here:

    “However… being the person I am on my blawg, I could not help thinking as I read all the ‘posts’ to the WFW trainee blog posted to date that it is not so much a blog (It does not use recognised blog software) but a series of articles in PDF format, written by trainees, obviously scrutinised and cleared by a partner before publication. I have no quarrel at all with that. As I said, above, it is a perfectly reasonable idea. I just wander how many students, reading the ‘reflections’ of the new intake of trainees, will think of dubious Soviet era communications designed to appear open, but pregnant with the control apparatus of the state in the background, and wonder how accurate the ‘insight’ really is. It could backfire.”

    It is either a blog or it is not a blog. Like you I do not think it is. I think it will backfire despite the fact that the idea of a trainee blog is excellent.

  2. Justin

    I’ve just read your piece. Thank you for commenting. Of course, I am more free to introduce thoughts about Napoleon the pig in Animal Farm and Soviet style propaganda.

    WFW is a good firm – but I do wander if they have got the right tactic on this one. Students are the least stupid of lawyers because they are not constrained by protocol, regimented by the profession or limited by the ‘wisdom’ which comes from fee arning. Ah… those were the days!

  3. Charon,
    A pleasure to comment.
    I agree with you. For a blog to have credibility with students it has to adopt a similar format to other student blogs. The idea is a good one…the problem is that the law firm has misrepresented what a blog is. It is already getting some negative elsewhere on the web so has backfired as an idea. I hope they re-vamp it.
    Justin

  4. Pingback: Binary Law » Blog Archive » Trainee love

  5. Pingback: Muttley Dastardly LLP: Trainee Blog… « Charon QC…the Blawg from spr-consilio.com

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