Why did you apply to Ince & Co?
Ince & Co appealed to me because of their status as one of the world’s leading maritime law firms. The firm has been involved in virtually every major maritime incident, including fires, sinkings, groundings, and collisions – so having grown up going on and off of ships this is something that had always appealed to me. The partners at Ince & Co also have fantastic reputations, and having now worked with many of them I can see why. I had visited Ince & Co during my time at University and again on a Trainee Recruitment Placement Scheme; the friendliness of the firm was one of the biggest appeals and this is still true today.
What has been your favourite case that you have worked on?
I got involved in shipping litigation very early on in my training contract, and after a year of working at Ince I have been able to experience both “wet” shipping, so called because they involve incidents at sea or in port, and “dry” contractual shipping disputes. One case I worked on involved a grounding in the Suez Canal which was building up towards an arbitration hearing.
The level of responsibility I received, at such an early stage of the training contract, made for a steep learning curve but one that I am incredibly grateful to have had as I was able to gain confidence and experience far sooner than I would have otherwise. I was heavily involved in drafting the factual witness statements, as well as preparing disclosure and obtaining the necessary evidence for the hearing. All within the space of about 6 months.
Working within a small team (a Partner, Senior Associate and myself) was great fun, and meant that I really had to get involved with the facts and the day to day running of the case. I liaised on an almost daily basis with our client, the experts, the witnesses, and Counsel. I would gather and review documentation in support of our claim, research various points of law, draft responses to the solicitors on the other side and assist in the general run up to arbitration.
Having spent a lot of time on this case it was incredibly rewarding to be able to attend the arbitration and see how the positions of the parties played out in front of the Tribunal.
What has been the most challenging aspect of your training contract so far?
Despite the good “work-life balance” that this firm generally embodies, it doesn’t necessarily go that way all of the time. I had a very busy 8 weeks where a lot of my deadlines clashed with each other and I found myself working magic circle-type hours. The struggle was not necessarily the type of work, but rather managing the expectations of those who were waiting for it. However, the partners at Ince are extremely approachable and understanding and people look out for you when they can see your hours are climbing. This has meant that even at the busiest moments there is always support and guidance available. Such a working environment has definitely made me feel like part of the firm from very early on.
How has your role changed on cases now that you’re a second year trainee?
You see your responsibility grow between first and second year; you have to be far more pro-active and anticipate what is needed from you rather than await instructions. Due to Ince’s unique training structure and the fact that we take our cases with us when we move seats, by the time you’re in your second year you’ll be involved in several matters that you know really well, and working on more complex issues and tasks.
What’s the social life like as a trainee at Ince?
Where do I start… “Ince Drinks” are held at our office every other month. At 17:30 everyone heads out to our balcony to enjoy the amazing views and have a catch up. We also have a Christmas Party, a May Ball, the NQ Party, team drinks, networking events and more!
On top of all that we also have a choir, sailing events, a football team, the occasional cricket match… the list goes on! You will have plenty of opportunities to socialise at Ince, in fact sometimes you may need a night off!
Are there any opportunities for charity and pro bono work?
In my short time at Ince, myself and two other trainees competed in the Three Peaks Challenge for the Sailors Society which was a fantastic event. We held multiple fundraisers at the firm, who were very supportive, which culminated in a holiday auction and a big raffle at the May Ball.
I also got involved in our Reading Scheme. Several members of Ince, both fee earners and business services staff, would head over to a local secondary school on our lunch break to help those who were struggling with, or slightly behind on their reading. It was great to get out of the office and do something a bit different, and the children were wonderful to work with.