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A Day in the Life of an HFW Trainee

Joshua Prest



I arrive at the office, have a quick chat with the another trainee in the department at the coffee machine and then log-on. I sort through the emails I received overnight, having already read these on the train to work, and then update my to-do list for the day.


One of the associates in the Commodities Litigation team is giving training today about Pre-Action Protocols and Statements of Case. I attend this training along with the other trainees who are in disputes seats.


My team is approaching the deadline for a Statement of Defence memorial in relation to a London Court of International Arbitration (LCIA) arbitration. The case concerns the design and manufacturing of a new type of shipping container. I have been asked to prepare a first draft witness statement for a person who was involved in inspecting the Claimant's machinery before contract was terminated. This is my first attempt drafting a witness statement, so I collate and review all of the contemporaneous documents which reference or are relevant to this person, and prepare an outline for the witness statement. My plan is that once I have completed this review of the documents and prepared the outline, I will check my understanding with the partner and then begin drafting.


I receive a request from an associate to arrange for the translation of a document from German. I am told that this document must be translated into English so that it can be used as an exhibit to an expert report. I check HFW's intranet page for recommended translation providers and contact one of them to request a quote and a timeframe. I email this quote to the client for their approval.


The other trainees in the Commodities department suggest that we head downstairs to the firm's café for lunch.


Following lunch, I receive an email from a partner that I have not worked for before. The partner is wondering whether I would have capacity to assist during the next couple of weeks in preparing for a mediation. The mediation concerns a dispute over our client's vessels losing their oil major approvals, and my first task would be to find potential experts in this area and draft instructions to them. Having received the go-ahead from my supervisor to assist with this, I pause on preparing my witness statement and start reading into this new matter. I also do some research around oil major approvals, which I have not heard of before.


My supervisor has asked me to urgently provide some options for local law firms based in Ghana. He has decided that we will need to instruct a local law firm for advice on an arbitration relating to a propane contract with a Ghanaian energy company. I pause my other work and check the firm's intranet to find Ghanaian firms that HFW have worked with before. I then do some further internet searches into the expertise and reputations of these firms. After sending a list of firms to my supervisor, I return to preparing my witness statement outline.


Having finished preparing my witness statement outline, I discuss this with the partner on the case. She gives me some feedback and I update the outline. I am now ready to start drafting the witness statement in the morning.


I submit my time recordings for the day and then head home.

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