What our trainees and apprentices say

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I applied to Thomas Cooper because of its international presence in the Commercial and Maritime world. I commenced my training contract in September 2018 and am currently in my first seat in the Shipping Department. My time at Thomas Cooper so far has been extremely enjoyable and intellectually stimulating; working both cross-departmentally and with the overseas offices has given me great exposure to both Thomas Cooper’s international presence and its clients.

I was initially worried that not having studied Shipping law in my educational career would put me at a disadvantage but, to my relief, this has not been the case – it has not prevented me from getting thoroughly involved in a variety of different cases in the slightest. The partners in the department are appreciative of the fact that Shipping law is a niche and intricate area of law and therefore take the time to explain the Shipping law concepts underpinning the particular task given. I believe this illustrates the co-operative and friendly working environment Thomas Cooper seeks to encourage. This has provided me with the opportunity of learning different things from each of the cases I’m involved in and employing this knowledge in subsequent cases.

One of the reasons I chose to pursue a legal career at Thomas Cooper was because of its belief in a practical approach to learning. This has definitely rung true so far. I have been entrusted with a large degree of responsibility as a trainee; most notably, appearing before a Master in the High Court of Justice to endorse several Charging Order Applications. Whilst this was something I had absolutely no previous practice in doing and was incredibly nervous, it was an experience which taught me a huge amount – above all, how to effectively think on the spot and how to adapt quickly to what is being asked of you – and one which I look back on fondly as being an achievement of mine. Whilst, of course, bundling and photocopying is an inherent part of life as a trainee solicitor, at Thomas Cooper this does not consume your everyday working life and the partners and associates are very appreciative when you complete these tasks.

With the first 4 months here being so wide-ranging, I am certainly looking forward to what the rest of my training contract at Thomas Cooper will hold!


Iris Bajraktari

I applied to Thomas Cooper because of its international presence in the Commercial and Maritime world. I commenced my training contract in September 2018 and am currently in my first seat in the Shipping Department. My time at Thomas Cooper so far has been extremely enjoyable and intellectually stimulating; working both cross-departmentally and with the overseas offices has given me great exposure to both Thomas Cooper’s international presence and its clients.

I was initially worried that not having studied Shipping law in my educational career would put me at a disadvantage but, to my relief, this has not been the case – it has not prevented me from getting thoroughly involved in a variety of different cases in the slightest. The partners in the department are appreciative of the fact that Shipping law is a niche and intricate area of law and therefore take the time to explain the Shipping law concepts underpinning the particular task given. I believe this illustrates the co-operative and friendly working environment Thomas Cooper seeks to encourage. This has provided me with the opportunity of learning different things from each of the cases I’m involved in and employing this knowledge in subsequent cases.

One of the reasons I chose to pursue a legal career at Thomas Cooper was because of its belief in a practical approach to learning. This has definitely rung true so far. I have been entrusted with a large degree of responsibility as a trainee; most notably, appearing before a Master in the High Court of Justice to endorse several Charging Order Applications. Whilst this was something I had absolutely no previous practice in doing and was incredibly nervous, it was an experience which taught me a huge amount – above all, how to effectively think on the spot and how to adapt quickly to what is being asked of you – and one which I look back on fondly as being an achievement of mine. Whilst, of course, bundling and photocopying is an inherent part of life as a trainee solicitor, at Thomas Cooper this does not consume your everyday working life and the partners and associates are very appreciative when you complete these tasks.

With the first 4 months here being so wide-ranging, I am certainly looking forward to what the rest of my training contract at Thomas Cooper will hold!

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I began my training with Thomas Cooper in September 2017. Having recently returned from an overseas seat at the firm’s Singapore office, I have just started my final training seat in the shipping department in London. My first and third seats at the firm were also in shipping while my second seat was in employment.

I wanted to train at Thomas Cooper because of the firm’s renowned expertise in the world of maritime law. Having completed two shipping seats, coupled with my time in Singapore, I can say with confidence that Thomas Cooper provides an excellent education in the world of shipping law. During my shipping seats, I have the opportunity to be involved in a wide range of shipping matters such as collision, pollution claims and charterparty disputes. From the beginning of my training, I was entrusted with significant responsibilities such as drafting submissions in demurrage and hire deduction cases and preparing an application to arrest a vessel. I feel valued as a member of the team, and the experience of working closely with my supervisors has been valuable in my development.

The relatively small size of the firm means that I am often asked to assist in matters in other departments, such as in employment, personal injury and sport. This has exposed me to different areas of the law and has helped me to develop the organisational and analytical skills necessary to be a good solicitor.

I have found the atmosphere of the firm to be inclusive and welcoming: simply put, it is a nice place to work. The partners and solicitors are knowledgeable and approachable, and they never hesitate to provide the feedback and support needed. I am grateful for the support I have received and I look forward to the rest of my training at the firm.


Justin Cheuk

I began my training with Thomas Cooper in September 2017. Having recently returned from an overseas seat at the firm’s Singapore office, I have just started my final training seat in the shipping department in London. My first and third seats at the firm were also in shipping while my second seat was in employment.

I wanted to train at Thomas Cooper because of the firm’s renowned expertise in the world of maritime law. Having completed two shipping seats, coupled with my time in Singapore, I can say with confidence that Thomas Cooper provides an excellent education in the world of shipping law. During my shipping seats, I have the opportunity to be involved in a wide range of shipping matters such as collision, pollution claims and charterparty disputes. From the beginning of my training, I was entrusted with significant responsibilities such as drafting submissions in demurrage and hire deduction cases and preparing an application to arrest a vessel. I feel valued as a member of the team, and the experience of working closely with my supervisors has been valuable in my development.

The relatively small size of the firm means that I am often asked to assist in matters in other departments, such as in employment, personal injury and sport. This has exposed me to different areas of the law and has helped me to develop the organisational and analytical skills necessary to be a good solicitor.

I have found the atmosphere of the firm to be inclusive and welcoming: simply put, it is a nice place to work. The partners and solicitors are knowledgeable and approachable, and they never hesitate to provide the feedback and support needed. I am grateful for the support I have received and I look forward to the rest of my training at the firm.

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Having joined Thomas Cooper as a Trainee Solicitor in September 2017, I am now 18 months into my training contract with the firm and I am currently in my final seat. My first seat at the firm was in employment, my second and third seats in shipping and my final seat is in finance. One of the main attractions for applying for a training contract at Thomas Cooper was the chance to gain broad experience over a number of different practise areas and after 18 months at the firm I can definitely say that this has been my experience.

My first seat in employment was particularly useful in developing the basic organisational skills that are needed as a solicitor. These have proved particularly useful in preparing cases for arbitration and litigation. During my time in the shipping department of the firm I have particularly enjoyed preparing for and attending arbitration hearings and hearings in the High Court. Indeed, a recent highlight was being involved in proceedings for injunctive relief and succeeding in our application for an anti-suit injunction. It is this sort of invaluable experience that will no doubt prove invaluable in my career as a solicitor.

The firm is lucky to have such a broad range of clients meaning that trainees have the chance to undertake a vast range of interesting work. I particularly enjoy drafting and have been given the responsibility to draft claim submissions, schedules of costs and more general advices to clients. My highlight of my time with the firm was being given responsibility for a small shipping matter for one of our clients. Under supervision, I was tasked with researching the relevant areas of law, providing advices to the client and then commencing arbitration and drafting the claim submissions. I am pleased to report that we were successful in the arbitration. My supervisor at the time was particularly helpful in providing me with constant feedback and this has no doubt being invaluable in my development. A common theme among my supervisors has been there willingness to give up their time in giving feedback and this is something I am particularly grateful for.

Having just started my final seat in finance, I am particularly looking forward to experiencing the non-contentious side of private practise. This is something I have had some experience of in shipping where I assisted in a ship sale and purchase but is something I am looking forward to gaining more experience in. I certainly think that my experience of litigation will be helpful and I am grateful to the firm for giving me such wide exposure to a number of different practise areas.

When tasked with writing a summary of my time at the firm last year I wrote: “Thomas Cooper is a wonderful place to undertake a training contract. Partners, solicitors and support staff alike are always willing to assist trainees in developing our understanding of both legal and commercial issues.” I can honestly say that 18 months into my training contract, my assessment remains the same.


Daniel Jennings

Having joined Thomas Cooper as a Trainee Solicitor in September 2017, I am now 18 months into my training contract with the firm and I am currently in my final seat. My first seat at the firm was in employment, my second and third seats in shipping and my final seat is in finance. One of the main attractions for applying for a training contract at Thomas Cooper was the chance to gain broad experience over a number of different practise areas and after 18 months at the firm I can definitely say that this has been my experience.

My first seat in employment was particularly useful in developing the basic organisational skills that are needed as a solicitor. These have proved particularly useful in preparing cases for arbitration and litigation. During my time in the shipping department of the firm I have particularly enjoyed preparing for and attending arbitration hearings and hearings in the High Court. Indeed, a recent highlight was being involved in proceedings for injunctive relief and succeeding in our application for an anti-suit injunction. It is this sort of invaluable experience that will no doubt prove invaluable in my career as a solicitor.

The firm is lucky to have such a broad range of clients meaning that trainees have the chance to undertake a vast range of interesting work. I particularly enjoy drafting and have been given the responsibility to draft claim submissions, schedules of costs and more general advices to clients. My highlight of my time with the firm was being given responsibility for a small shipping matter for one of our clients. Under supervision, I was tasked with researching the relevant areas of law, providing advices to the client and then commencing arbitration and drafting the claim submissions. I am pleased to report that we were successful in the arbitration. My supervisor at the time was particularly helpful in providing me with constant feedback and this has no doubt being invaluable in my development. A common theme among my supervisors has been there willingness to give up their time in giving feedback and this is something I am particularly grateful for.

Having just started my final seat in finance, I am particularly looking forward to experiencing the non-contentious side of private practise. This is something I have had some experience of in shipping where I assisted in a ship sale and purchase but is something I am looking forward to gaining more experience in. I certainly think that my experience of litigation will be helpful and I am grateful to the firm for giving me such wide exposure to a number of different practise areas.

When tasked with writing a summary of my time at the firm last year I wrote: “Thomas Cooper is a wonderful place to undertake a training contract. Partners, solicitors and support staff alike are always willing to assist trainees in developing our understanding of both legal and commercial issues.” I can honestly say that 18 months into my training contract, my assessment remains the same.

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Ebi Oni – Trainee Solicitor

I started my training contract at Thomas Cooper in September 2018 having chosen the firm for its reputation in shipping and scope for international work. My first seat has been in the firms well known Shipping team with a focus on litigation.

I have really enjoyed my first 4 months at the firm, and it has been a real learning curve. I have been involved in a wide variety of interesting cases such as an insurance claim arising from the unrest in Syria, a dispute concerning the application of European Union law to the shipment of livestock from the UK, and most recently, assisting a client to comply with the terms of a worldwide freezing order. I have been given a good amount of responsibility and client exposure whilst working on these cases and my efforts are always appreciated. People from all levels are willing to take the time to explain complex cases and regular internal and external training sessions are provided.

Due to the size of the firm, trainees are often involved in work for other departments and the international offices which means you always have a sense of what is going on in the firm as a whole. There is a real sense of community within Thomas Cooper without hierarchical barriers which makes it a genuinely enjoyable place to work. Trainees are encouraged to attend networking events from an early stage so it is easy to get to know colleagues and other professionals in the industry in a more relaxed setting.


Ebi Oni

Ebi Oni – Trainee Solicitor

I started my training contract at Thomas Cooper in September 2018 having chosen the firm for its reputation in shipping and scope for international work. My first seat has been in the firms well known Shipping team with a focus on litigation.

I have really enjoyed my first 4 months at the firm, and it has been a real learning curve. I have been involved in a wide variety of interesting cases such as an insurance claim arising from the unrest in Syria, a dispute concerning the application of European Union law to the shipment of livestock from the UK, and most recently, assisting a client to comply with the terms of a worldwide freezing order. I have been given a good amount of responsibility and client exposure whilst working on these cases and my efforts are always appreciated. People from all levels are willing to take the time to explain complex cases and regular internal and external training sessions are provided.

Due to the size of the firm, trainees are often involved in work for other departments and the international offices which means you always have a sense of what is going on in the firm as a whole. There is a real sense of community within Thomas Cooper without hierarchical barriers which makes it a genuinely enjoyable place to work. Trainees are encouraged to attend networking events from an early stage so it is easy to get to know colleagues and other professionals in the industry in a more relaxed setting.

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Nick Tidmarsh – Trainee Solicitor

I joined Thomas Cooper in September 2018 and was first placed in the Finance department. The work so far has been highly varied, including Brexit preparations, unusual lease arrangements for super-yachts, and multi-million financing arrangements involving world-renowned companies.

Finance was a practice area I had relatively little experience in. Fortunately Thomas Cooper is a firm with patient and supportive co-workers, including the Partners, so my time here has been enjoyable and educational from the start. The firm takes a similar approach with new trainees’ expected lack of knowledge of shipping law. The learning curve has been excellent, and the firm’s expectations of trainees are clearly communicated from the beginning. Trainees benefit from sharing a room with their supervising partner, absorbing practical advice about the reality of legal work and witnessing the operation at the top of the department.

With Thomas Cooper’s smaller size, trainees are valued members of the team. Requests for help from our foreign offices or other departments allow trainees to dip into new practice areas and prove their worth to appreciative fee-earners from the start. Despite my current finance focus, I have helped with employment, shipping, ship collision and personal injury cases, in particular with preparation for court hearings. To make full use of us, the firm readily fosters trainee independence, with oversight appropriately relaxed as confidence grows within the first seat.

The further learning opportunities are impressively frequent for a firm of this size, with partners and external speakers providing clear and helpful insights into shipping and wider legal and industry topics.

I applied to Thomas Cooper due to the greater value of trainees at smaller firms, the close proximity to partners, and the growing value of specialised firms in the current market. Having now enjoyed four months here I am glad of my choice, and I look forward to my next seats.


Nick Tidmarsh

Nick Tidmarsh – Trainee Solicitor

I joined Thomas Cooper in September 2018 and was first placed in the Finance department. The work so far has been highly varied, including Brexit preparations, unusual lease arrangements for super-yachts, and multi-million financing arrangements involving world-renowned companies.

Finance was a practice area I had relatively little experience in. Fortunately Thomas Cooper is a firm with patient and supportive co-workers, including the Partners, so my time here has been enjoyable and educational from the start. The firm takes a similar approach with new trainees’ expected lack of knowledge of shipping law. The learning curve has been excellent, and the firm’s expectations of trainees are clearly communicated from the beginning. Trainees benefit from sharing a room with their supervising partner, absorbing practical advice about the reality of legal work and witnessing the operation at the top of the department.

With Thomas Cooper’s smaller size, trainees are valued members of the team. Requests for help from our foreign offices or other departments allow trainees to dip into new practice areas and prove their worth to appreciative fee-earners from the start. Despite my current finance focus, I have helped with employment, shipping, ship collision and personal injury cases, in particular with preparation for court hearings. To make full use of us, the firm readily fosters trainee independence, with oversight appropriately relaxed as confidence grows within the first seat.

The further learning opportunities are impressively frequent for a firm of this size, with partners and external speakers providing clear and helpful insights into shipping and wider legal and industry topics.

I applied to Thomas Cooper due to the greater value of trainees at smaller firms, the close proximity to partners, and the growing value of specialised firms in the current market. Having now enjoyed four months here I am glad of my choice, and I look forward to my next seats.

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My Thomas Cooper career started in May 2015, when I joined the firm as a Paralegal working predominantly in Finance and Litigation. I then started my training contract in September 2017, and after seats in Shipping, Corporate and Employment, I am now with the Litigation team for my fourth and final seat.

As a Trainee Solicitor, the work has been varied and interesting, with hands-on experience and client contact from the very start. My Shipping seat included dealing with collisions, groundings and various charterparty disputes, as well as attending closing meetings on a ship sale and purchase, and assisting the Piraeus office with a Court of Appeal hearing. In the Corporate seat I assisted with drafting articles and shareholders’ agreements for new companies, group reorganisations, and striking out a fraudulently incorporated company. With the Employment team, I worked for claimants and respondents, from individuals to multi-national organisations, across a range of sectors including shipping, aviation, football and finance.

Many of the solicitors and partners undertook their own training contracts with the firm, and all are keen to share their knowledge and support which makes for a great working and learning environment. It’s refreshing to work in a London law firm with such a welcoming atmosphere and diverse range of work, and still get to see some daylight when done for the day. In addition to the work, the learning side of the training contract is given huge importance. There are regular in-house and external talks from counsel, experts, and members of the firm, and however busy they may be at the time, my colleagues have always been more than happy to answer any questions and impart some wisdom.


Ellis Van der Vos

My Thomas Cooper career started in May 2015, when I joined the firm as a Paralegal working predominantly in Finance and Litigation. I then started my training contract in September 2017, and after seats in Shipping, Corporate and Employment, I am now with the Litigation team for my fourth and final seat.

As a Trainee Solicitor, the work has been varied and interesting, with hands-on experience and client contact from the very start. My Shipping seat included dealing with collisions, groundings and various charterparty disputes, as well as attending closing meetings on a ship sale and purchase, and assisting the Piraeus office with a Court of Appeal hearing. In the Corporate seat I assisted with drafting articles and shareholders’ agreements for new companies, group reorganisations, and striking out a fraudulently incorporated company. With the Employment team, I worked for claimants and respondents, from individuals to multi-national organisations, across a range of sectors including shipping, aviation, football and finance.

Many of the solicitors and partners undertook their own training contracts with the firm, and all are keen to share their knowledge and support which makes for a great working and learning environment. It’s refreshing to work in a London law firm with such a welcoming atmosphere and diverse range of work, and still get to see some daylight when done for the day. In addition to the work, the learning side of the training contract is given huge importance. There are regular in-house and external talks from counsel, experts, and members of the firm, and however busy they may be at the time, my colleagues have always been more than happy to answer any questions and impart some wisdom.

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Thomas Cooper’s team gives practical and commercial and fast and efficient advice. Active in both wet and dry matters, the firm has also advised on a number of high-profile piracy cases…
Legal 500, 2012