What our trainees and apprentices say

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Iris Bajraktari – Trainee Solicitor

I applied to Thomas Cooper because of its reputable international presence in the Commercial and Maritime world. Having commenced my training contract in September 2018, I 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 large high-ranking client base.

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. I have also been fortunate enough to attend both a court hearing and a Case Management Conference, for which I was entrusted to compile hearing bundles. Further, I have drafted letters of advice and corresponded with clients on options in respect of their case. 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

Iris Bajraktari – Trainee Solicitor

I applied to Thomas Cooper because of its reputable international presence in the Commercial and Maritime world. Having commenced my training contract in September 2018, I 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 large high-ranking client base.

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. I have also been fortunate enough to attend both a court hearing and a Case Management Conference, for which I was entrusted to compile hearing bundles. Further, I have drafted letters of advice and corresponded with clients on options in respect of their case. 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 applied to Thomas Cooper because of my interest in maritime and international work; therefore I was glad to be placed in the firm’s renowned shipping practice when I joined in September 2017. Despite my inexperience and lack of prior knowledge in shipping law, my first seat has been a thoroughly enjoyable introduction into the firm and the world of shipping. The work that I have been involved in has been challenging, varied and international in scope.

Thomas Cooper is a firm where you aware of what is happening in other departments and overseas offices, indeed I am often asked to assist with matters elsewhere. This has exposed me to different clients and areas of law. In addition to my shipping work, I have helped the review of a contract between a Premier League player and his club and conducted research on accidents on board a cruise ship. While it is a true that a staple of a trainee’s work includes preparing trial bundles and photocopying documents, others in the firm are invariably appreciative of my help on these important tasks.

Thomas Cooper is small enough for trainees to be supported individually and be given serious responsibilities from the onset of the training contract, yet also large enough to have an overseas presence and for trainees to be involved in truly international matters. I have enjoyed my training here so far and have found the firm to be a welcoming and supportive place.


Justin Cheuk

I applied to Thomas Cooper because of my interest in maritime and international work; therefore I was glad to be placed in the firm’s renowned shipping practice when I joined in September 2017. Despite my inexperience and lack of prior knowledge in shipping law, my first seat has been a thoroughly enjoyable introduction into the firm and the world of shipping. The work that I have been involved in has been challenging, varied and international in scope.

Thomas Cooper is a firm where you aware of what is happening in other departments and overseas offices, indeed I am often asked to assist with matters elsewhere. This has exposed me to different clients and areas of law. In addition to my shipping work, I have helped the review of a contract between a Premier League player and his club and conducted research on accidents on board a cruise ship. While it is a true that a staple of a trainee’s work includes preparing trial bundles and photocopying documents, others in the firm are invariably appreciative of my help on these important tasks.

Thomas Cooper is small enough for trainees to be supported individually and be given serious responsibilities from the onset of the training contract, yet also large enough to have an overseas presence and for trainees to be involved in truly international matters. I have enjoyed my training here so far and have found the firm to be a welcoming and supportive place.

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Having joined Thomas Cooper as a Trainee Solicitor in September 2017, I am now two-thirds of the way through my first seat in employment. The first four months at the firm have been thoroughly rewarding and enjoyable. It has been good to put into practise many of the skills learned on the GDL and LPC as well as developing new ones in a professional yet friendly environment.

I have particularly enjoyed my time in employment as this has allowed me to experience both litigious and non-litigious work first hand. In both fields, the range of corporate and individual clients provides for some fascinating case work. The litigious side of the practise has allowed me to develop skills in case analysis, trial preparation, time management and drafting. The non-litigious side has given me the opportunity to meet both clients and prospective clients. I have certainly learnt a great deal from my supervising partner when it comes to tailoring bespoke legal advice to our varied range of clients.

One of the advantages of training at a small firm such as Thomas Cooper is the opportunity to assist other departments and offices with their work. During my first four months I have assisted one of our foreign offices on a number of varied matters and this has also been particularly interesting and enjoyable work.

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 have found the internal and external program of lectures that the firm arranges to be most useful in my development.


Daniel Jennings

Having joined Thomas Cooper as a Trainee Solicitor in September 2017, I am now two-thirds of the way through my first seat in employment. The first four months at the firm have been thoroughly rewarding and enjoyable. It has been good to put into practise many of the skills learned on the GDL and LPC as well as developing new ones in a professional yet friendly environment.

I have particularly enjoyed my time in employment as this has allowed me to experience both litigious and non-litigious work first hand. In both fields, the range of corporate and individual clients provides for some fascinating case work. The litigious side of the practise has allowed me to develop skills in case analysis, trial preparation, time management and drafting. The non-litigious side has given me the opportunity to meet both clients and prospective clients. I have certainly learnt a great deal from my supervising partner when it comes to tailoring bespoke legal advice to our varied range of clients.

One of the advantages of training at a small firm such as Thomas Cooper is the opportunity to assist other departments and offices with their work. During my first four months I have assisted one of our foreign offices on a number of varied matters and this has also been particularly interesting and enjoyable work.

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 have found the internal and external program of lectures that the firm arranges to be most useful in my development.

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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 time at Thomas Cooper started in May 2015, when I joined the firm as a Paralegal working mostly in the Finance and Litigation departments.  Since then,  I started my training contract in September 2017 and I am now approaching the end of my first seat in Shipping.

As a Trainee Solicitor, the work has been varied and interesting, with hands-on experience and client contact from the very start.  Already in my first seat I have worked on a range of shipping matters including 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.  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.

My training contract at Thomas Cooper has certainly got off to a busy start, and I am looking forward to what the next seat brings.


Ellis Van der Vos

My time at Thomas Cooper started in May 2015, when I joined the firm as a Paralegal working mostly in the Finance and Litigation departments.  Since then,  I started my training contract in September 2017 and I am now approaching the end of my first seat in Shipping.

As a Trainee Solicitor, the work has been varied and interesting, with hands-on experience and client contact from the very start.  Already in my first seat I have worked on a range of shipping matters including 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.  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.

My training contract at Thomas Cooper has certainly got off to a busy start, and I am looking forward to what the next seat brings.

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