Career Paths

At Ellis Jones we strongly believe in encouraging all of our staff to develop and fulfil their potential. We provide opportunities for you to progress within the firm and support you in your career aspirations. We also provide a mentoring scheme, click here to find out more.

Many of our legal support staff choose to progress their careers with us by studying for a CILEX qualification. Our Paralegals have progressed to become Trainee Solicitors and many of our Trainee Solicitors have progressed to becoming Associates and then on to become Partners.

Even our Managing Partner was a Trainee Solicitor at Ellis Jones.

“I started at the firm 30 years ago in 1986 as a Trainee Solicitor (Articled Clerk back then!). I was keen to progress and was given the opportunity to do so. At the tender age of 28, I became one of the youngest Equity Partners in the country and from day 1 was very much part of the management of the firm. I assumed the role of Managing Partner in 1999 and have been allowed to develop into that role. I am committed to creating an environment where everyone is encouraged to achieve personal excellence and to giving everyone in the firm the opportunity to further their careers in the same way in which I was. That philosophy is reflected in the fact that more than a third of the Partners and half of the Associates in the firm started here as Trainees. Long may that continue!”

Nigel Smith, Managing Partner.

Lauren Day (Partner) also started at Ellis Jones as a Trainee Solicitor in 2007.

“After completing my training contract with Ellis Jones – which was both engaging and challenging – I qualified into the firm’s Dispute Resolution team. Having received excellent support and training I was made an Associate in 2012 and a partner in December 2013. I feel that my rapid progression to partner reflects the firm’s commitment to support and development for their staff. I doubt that I would have had such opportunities at other firms”

Lauren Day, Partner & Head of Dispute Resolution.

Our Head of Employment, Kate Brooks, has also worked her way up from trainee.

I started my training contract at Ellis Jones in 2009, I qualified into the Employment Department in September 2011. I was promoted to Associate and Head of the Department in 2013. I had a baby girl in September 2015 and was promoted to Senior Associate while I was on maternity leave at the start of 2016. Ellis Jones supported me in a flexible return to work in 2016, I currently work flexibly from each of our offices, remotely from home and have flexible hours so that I can spend time with my daughter. I have recently been promoted to Partner (effective from January 2018). I really appreciate the support that Ellis Jones has given me through the years, particularly in relation to my return to work following maternity leave and supporting me to become a Partner”

Kate Brooks, Partner & Head of Employment Law/HR Services.

Conor Maher, who currently works as a Solicitor in the Dispute Resolution Department, began his training contract with Ellis Jones in 2009.

“Having worked previously at Bournemouth Magistrates’ Court and a local firm of Solicitors as part of my secondary-school work experience programme, I went on to study Law at the University of Exeter. During my degree programme, I did a number of work experience and vacation scheme placements across the South West, and also undertook 2 mini-pupillages with Barristers’ Chambers in Bournemouth and Exeter. In my final year at Exeter, I began working part-time for a specialist criminal defence firm where I stayed upon graduation to work full-time.

Having obtained a training contract offer from the firm I was working for, I decided to provisionally look at other firms within the Bournemouth area to be closer to home. I was extremely happy where I was, and so I knew it would take something special for me to give up my current offer and move elsewhere.

I had known about Ellis Jones as a part of the local community, and the reputation of the firm locally was a strong attraction for me in considering applying in the first instance. Having researched the firm, and others in the local area, I decided to apply to Ellis Jones because of its size in comparison to other local firms, range of service offering (and therefore greater experience and training opportunities) and the culture of the firm.

I started my training contract in September 2019 within the Banking and Finance Litigation Department, working alongside William Fox-Bregman and Paul Kanolik. In March 2020 I moved to Dispute Resolution, training under Lauren Day, before moving to Commercial Property (Ringwood) in September 2020 for 3 months alongside Matthew Clake, and latterly in December 2020 to the Criminal Department under Jonathan Morrissey.

My training contract was extremely varied, with opportunities to experience both litigious and non-contentious seats, and a wide range of commercial and criminal practice areas. I was given a huge amount of freedom to choose my seats and length of seats (within the ambit of the firm’s business requirements), and was easily able to demonstrate the required core skills training as a consequence of the varied and directly-involved work and caseload.

Having previously worked in the legal industry for the requisite period, I was able to apply my experience to take 6 months ‘time to count’ to reduce the time period of my training contract, and was therefore able to qualify after 18 months (as opposed to 24 months).

During my training contract, I was supported by the firm in undertaking the professional skills course and other professional development and training opportunities at my request and discretion. Further, I was given huge scope to engage in networking and business development even at an early stage in my career at Ellis Jones.

In March 2021, I qualified as a Solicitor into Ellis Jones’ Dispute Resolution Department. However, despite working in a team of predominantly civil litigators, I have been supported in also working alongside our firm’s Criminal Department in order to develop my general criminal expertise, and to undertake my Accredited Police Station Representative qualification.

I chose to qualify into Dispute Resolution and Crime as a ‘best of both world’, for which Ellis Jones were extremely supportive. Furthermore, I have been given huge support to develop new business in the area of Regulatory and Disciplinary Law; support which goes above and beyond what I would have expected to receive as a newly-qualified solicitor seeking to develop a new practice area.

Pretty much from my first day at the firm, I’ve felt very much a part of the Ellis Jones family, which has been extremely welcoming and friendly. The firm’s culture of ‘professional with personality’ suits me perfectly, and allows me to do my job professionally without stifling my own personality, humour, and individuality (all of which are in fact encouraged). Further, the firm’s core values include ‘building strong relationships’, which has been apparent since the start of my training contract in the friendly and approachable nature of my colleagues and the extremely sociable nature of the firm as a whole.”

Conor Maher – Solicitor (Dispute Resolution).

Hannah Roberts, who currently works as a Paralegal in the Employment Department, shows clear progression.

“In February 2013 I was employed by Ellis Jones as the secretary to the Head of the Employment Department. In December 2014, after showing an active interest in employment law and asking for additional work to gain experience and knowledge, the firm both encouraged and supported me in pursuing a legal qualification through the CILEx route. In April 2016 I was promoted to paralegal and I became an Associate member of CILEx in May 2017. I am currently working towards my Level 6 qualification. I am very grateful to the firm for their commitment to my training and career development, particularly as I didn’t think I’d ever have the opportunity to study and practice law having not attended university”

Hannah Roberts, Paralegal (Employment Law).

Katie Taft (Partner) started at Ellis Jones as a Trainee Solicitor in 2008.

“After completing my training contract with Ellis Jones in 2010 I qualified into the firm’s Family team. I had spent almost 9 months in the department during my two year training contract and knew that family law was my passion. Ellis Jones have consistently provided me with support, encouragement and mentoring throughout my career which has allowed me to pursue my career goals. I was promoted to Associate Solicitor in 2013 and to Senior Associate Solicitor in 2016. In January 2018 I was appointed as a Partner of the firm joining a team of Partners, many of whom also trained at Ellis Jones. The firm’s commitment to “growing their own” is unrivalled by other firms in the local area and in turn, creates an environment of loyalty, teamwork and trust throughout the partnership and across the firm generally”

Katie Taft, Partner (Family).

Maria Evans started as Solicitor in our Dispute Resolution Department in 2018.

“I am a Solicitor in the Dispute Resolution team, specialising in dealing with commercial litigation disputes, insolvency and debt recovery work. I have worked at the firm since May 2018. My legal career began at a local regional firm, working as an Administration Assistant and within a year, I was promoted to a paralegal. During this time, I decided I wanted to pursue a career in law. I completed all of my studies whilst working full time and eventually qualified as a Chartered Legal Executive in 2015. After qualifying, I decided to continue my studies to become a Solicitor. I was required to undertake part of the Graduate Diploma in Law (with partial exemptions) and the Legal Practice Course, but due to being a Chartered Legal Executive, I was exempt from the requirement to undertake a training contract. I qualified as a Solicitor in September 2017. During my time at the firm, I have received excellent support and training from my colleagues and the firm invests heavily in encouraging its staff to learn and develop their skills, which is fantastic. There is also a great amount of support for junior lawyers with the firm’s mentoring scheme, providing skills that you don’t necessarily get taught during your legal studies, such as time recording and networking skills.”

Maria Evans, Associate Solicitor (Dispute Resolution)

Read More