Training contracts in Wales — get ready for a spot of hazing

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By Judge John Hack on

High street law firm newbies kitted out in silly clobber while the skateboarder from Dirty Sanchez takes over business development


Any trainee solicitor can attest to the utter tedium of the job — hour after hour of photocopying, file bundling, note taking. And it’s no secret that trainees need thick skins and a strong sense of self-worth, because they are bound to be patronised by everyone else at the firm from the senior partner down to that irritatingly smug chap who qualified five minutes ago.

But it seems the partnership at Welsh solicitors Watkins & Gunn has taken the ritualistic humiliation/gentle teasing (take your pick) of trainees to unscaled heights by persuading the newbies to parade around its offices in silly outfits labelling them as … trainee solicitors.

And the two-partner, 12-lawyer firm — with offices in Cardiff, Newport and Pontypool — hasn’t stopped with that dose of internal belittling. It has posted pictures of two of its wannabe solicitors in full W&G trainee battle dress on Twitter.

Here we can see Natalie Corten grimacing under the weight of what the firm has described as its own version of a Harry Potter “sorting hat” — presumably to determine whether the next six months of her young life will be spent in the rock ‘n’ roll world of residential conveyancing or the cut and thrust of road traffic law.


And draped head to toe in multiple notices reading “trainee solicitor at work” (just in case distracted department heads fail to get the message the first time round) is Carys Jones. It is unknown whether she has taken the initiative herself to balance that humiliation with the more positive message of being a “Superwoman” trainee — or whether the firm has had something resembling the good grace to do that itself.


Kitting out trainees in ludicrous garb isn’t W&G’s only comedy wheeze. The firm recently roped in the services of renowned Welsh daredevil Matthew Pryderi Pritchard to promote its Gateway2Law client development programme.

Pritchard — the tattoo-covered professional skateboarder who gave grateful telly viewers “Dirty Sanchez”, a programme involving stunts where a group of half-wits drink their own urine or each other’s liposuction fat — is pictured here with some of Wales’s leading legal minds.


The firm maintains on its website that “we constantly challenge ourselves to exceed our clients’ expectations and to offer an unrivalled service”.

Those trainees will be having sleepless nights over the potential prospect of appearing in a forthcoming Dirty Sanchez skateboard-while-you-gargle-upside-down stunt. That would certainly exceed their law school expectations.