Tag Archives: trainee solicitor

Trainee solicitor to Higher Courts Advocate

trainee solicitor elliott moulster
Regulatory solicitor Elliott Moulster

We are pleased to announce that Elliott Moulster qualified as a solicitor in April following successful completion of his training contract during his time with us as a trainee solicitor.  He has accepted our offer of employment as an assistant solicitor within our regulatory department, undertaking prosecutions on behalf of the Health and Safety Executive.

Trainee Solicitor, Elliott Moulster, has sat and passed all of the Professional Skills Courses required for him to qualify as a Solicitor.

In order for anyone to qualify as a solicitor, Elliott had to undertake several years of study followed by a rigorous training process that also involved additional studies.

As a minimum, a prospective solicitor has to undertake four years of study – a three year degree followed by the Legal Practice Course.

Two year training contract for a trainee solicitor

trainee solicitorThis is followed by a period of usually two years working for a firm or organisation within the legal profession known as the training contract.  There are numerous requirements that must be satisfied during a training contract. They include:

  • practice in at least three distinct areas of law
  • two years’ work experience across these three areas
  • experience in key solicitor competencies
  • undertaking the Professional Skills Courses, and
  • keeping a Professional Development Diary across the two years.

In order to make sure Elliott secured a broad range of legal training, he was seconded to Nottingham Law Centre for a period of his training.  His experiences at the Centre can be found here, here and here.

The Professional Skills Course

The Professional Skills Course involves continued professional development around key areas of solicitor practice. The mandatory courses include:

  • advocacy
  • client care, and
  • financial and business skills.

In addition to this, a trainee solicitor must also undertake a total of 24 hours’ of courses in areas of their choosing.  These elective modules can cover practically any area of law and have the benefit of giving participants a greater understanding of the areas of law in question.

Securing Higher Rights of Audience

For his options, Elliott chose to undertake his Higher Rights of Audience Qualification.  This took up the entirety of the 24 hour additional training.  Higher Rights of Audience are required by any trainee solicitorsolicitor who wishes to conduct advocacy in Crown Courts, aside from appeals or committals for sentence.

The process for gaining the qualification involves intensive training.  Elliott took part in a four day training course in London.  This taught him the rules of criminal litigation as well as provided training in advocacy techniques.

At the end of the course Elliott had to sit two exams aimed at testing the skills and knowledge that he had developed.  The pass mark for the exams was at least 60%.  They consisted of:

  • a two and a half hour written exam based on criminal litigation
  • taking part in a 30 minute viva voce.  This is an assessment where answers to questions are given verbally as opposed to in writing ;
  • presentation of a 15 minute court application on a legal issue such as bad character or hearsay, and
  • the 15 minute cross examination of a prosecution witness who was played by an actor.

Despite some very tricky questions in the exams and a less than co-operative witness on the stand, we are pleased to report that Elliott  passed all of the exams and assessment.

Work experience and careers advice

We hope that this gives an overview of the training involved in becoming a solicitor.  We try and attend schools and colleges to provide careers advice where possible, and offer as much work experience to school and college students that we can.

If you represent a school or college and wish one of us to speak to pupils or students, or if you wish advice or are trying to secure a work experience placement yourself, then please contact us using the form below.

Periodically we will have a vacancy for a trainee solicitor and this will be advertised on our website and publicised through social media so please follow us on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.


Trainee placement at Nottingham Law Centre continues

Elliott Moulster, a Trainee Solicitor in the Firm’s Regulatory Department, has been seconded to Nottingham Law Centre.  A post about his experiences during his first week can be found here.

During weeks two and three of the placement, Elliott had to work around existing commitments to his regulatory work, including time spent at the Crown Court in Newcastle-upon-Tyne for the beginning of a complex Health and Safety Executive prosecution.

Having instilled confidence in those supervising him at the Law Centre, he has been given much more responsibility and independence.  First thing in the morning he is greeted with a pile of files to review and progress.  The work will include

  • contacting clients to discuss their cases
  • chasing up replies from the Department of Work and Pensions
  • corresponding with employers, medical practitioners and varius other individuals and bodies in order to take forward benefit claims.

One of Elliott’s more complex pieces of work to date has been drafting submissions for a client’s appeal to the Upper Appeals Tribunal. The case being appealed concerned a client’s request for Employment & Support Allowance.  This had been refused by the DWP and the First Tier Social Security Tribunal.

The Law Centre believed that these decisions were in error, and therefore were supporting their client’s appeal.  The point of law was relatively complicated, relating to EU and immigration law.  Elliott found this a fascinating piece of work to be involved in.

Elliott has also been conducting his own interviews with clients, albeit under the direct supervision of Diana Bagci.  For example, he met with a client to obtain instructions to draft an application for a Personal Indepence Payment.  He ascertained the client’s health difficulties and how his life was affected on a daily basis.  Such conversations clearly involve a high degree of sensitivity and professionalism.

Finally, Elliott has used the opportunity of working at the Law Centre to continue to be involved in the local community.  He has continued to help at the Law Centre’s local support sessions for the Roma community.

He was also invited to another community forum.  On this occasion it was to discuss the local provisions for those suffering from trauma.

Elliott attended as a representative of the Law Centre at a local community careers fair.  This was attended and enjoyed by many.

With two more weeks to go of his secondment, Elliott is keen to see what new challenges are thrown at him.

Follow this link to the Nottingham Law Centre web site to find out more about its work and to make a donation.

Trainee solicitor completes London Marathon

Elliott Moulster London MarathonOver the weekend our Trainee Solicitor Elliott Moulster successfully ran the 2017 Virgin Money London Marathon. The Marathon was a 26.2 miles run across the heart of Central London. This year it was ‘enjoyed’ by a record number of people. In total, there were almost 40,000 runners of every age and ability, each with their own reason to run.

First London Marathon

Although Elliott had never run the London Marathon before, it was a challenge that he was somewhat familiar with having completed the Nottingham Robin Hood Marathon on two previous occasions.

Ilkeston trainee solicitor Elliott MoulsterDuring the first occasion, which he ran for charity, Elliott was able to secure a ‘good for age’ time under 3:00:05. This achievement meant that he was able to obtain automatic entry for the London Marathon. This was opposed to entry through the formidable public ballot which can only accept roughly 1/5 of all applicants due to the sheer volume of demand.

As this was his first Marathon since starting his training with the firm, preperation for the occasion proved to be somewhat challenging.  With daily work in the firm’s Regulatory Law department, and his additional commitments including:

  • Police Station Accreditation

all taking priority, time to go out running for hours on end was often sparse.

Placed 880th out of 40 000

Notwithstanding this challenge, it appears that he is managing these commitments extremely well.  He passed the finish line of the London Marathon with a new personal best of 02:50:50. This time saw him finish 880th out of the 40 000 who entered.

He could not have done this without the support of his friends and family. Their encouragement at mile 23 saw him through ‘the wall’ that he hit towards the end of the race.  With hindsight this was probably self-induced due to his erratic pace at the start of the race!

Overall, he is pleased to that it was an amazing experience and one that he looks forward to repeating in the future, albeit in an even quicker time!

Ilkeston regulatory solicitor VHS Fletchers

Advocacy competition success for Trainee

advocacy competition hammond cup trainee solicitor
Trainee solicitor Elliott Moulster

Trainee solicitor Elliott Moulster is through to the final of Nottinghamshire Law Society’s prestigious Hammond Cup advocacy competition following a strong performance in the first round.

The Hammond Cup is an advocacy competition open to any local trainee solicitor, pupil barrister and paralegal. Judges are local practitioners.  They look for candidates who show clarity of expression, thoroughness and, of course, persuasiveness in the arguments that they put forward.

49th year of advocacy competition

The competition is in its 49th year so many well known names have taken part in the past.  VHS Fletchers and previous firms Varley Hadley Siddall and Fletchers solicitors had a strong tradition of encouraging trainees to take part in the competition.

As a result, several of the staff at VHS Fletchers have taken part.  They went on to qualify as criminal defence solicitors.  These include Derek Brown, Andrew Wesley, Alex Chapman, David Gittins and Lauren Manuel.

Plea in Mitigation

For the first round, Elliott was asked to present a plea in mitigation for Nelson Muntz, a character from the Simpsons. Poor Nelson found himself before the Court charged with assault by beating.

trainee crime solicitor hammond cup

The exercise was treated like a real Magistrates’ Court hearing and so took place in one of Nottingham Law School’s impressive mock courtrooms. Although the outcome of the sentence was not announced, Elliott clearly mitigated well on behalf of his client.

The argument that he  presented was clear, reasoned and sensible. The judges were impressed enough to advance him to the final.

Final to be decided on 13 April 2017

The final takes place at Nottingham Law School on 13th April. Elliott will be tasked with preparing a full mock trial as he faces his fellow finalists. The competition will be strong but we have every faith in him to bring the trophy home!

Good luck Elliott!

More information about the competition can be found here.