Interview with Damien Fleming, Partner at BLP

Interview with Damien Fleming, Partner at BLP

Article by Emma Hamnett

Damian Fleming and I sat down to discuss all things BLP, and to talk about his transition from the London Headquarters to the new Manchester Office. BLP is now offering clients a new service in Manchester. BLP believes that Manchester has everything to offer when it comes to word-class business service and they wanted to embrace it.

Damian Fleming is the head of BLP’s Manchester office and has over 20 years’ experience in the real estate sector. He works with investors both in the UK and overseas on all aspects of real estate holdings, acquisitions and disposals of standing developments and investments, large-scale leases and pre-letting.

What do you offer trainees that sets you apart from other firms?

First of all, BLP is trainee-focused and as a business we have won several awards for quality training tailored to business. BLP invests in its future trainees. Trainees here get to be involved with good quality work from day one. The training that they get is second to none. Trainees get outstanding on the job training. We demonstrate a market leaders message across all our offices including Manchester. We provide gold standard training, and with BLP you can gain a long career.

Why do you allow trainees to become involved with clients from day one?

This allows for the trainees to have the opportunity to learn and gain experience and skills to become qualified lawyers from the outset. It sets them up with skills for the future. Your age at BLP is no issue and we accept any candidate of any age, background or culture, trainee applications are open to all. You get direct involvement from day one.

The key difference with BLP is the level of involvement with clients from day one..

How does BLP’S training contract stand out compared to other firms?

The key difference with the training contract at BLP is the level of involvement with clients from day one. You get to be involved with high quality work and have your own files and caseloads. You have a supportive supervisor to guide you through your training contract and you are able to build your experience and get hands on learning from a formal training programme, and gain a great formal education in the process.

What seats do BLP offer and is there an international option?

At BLP, there a wide variety of seats, from Manchester to London, and also an international offering. The most popular seats on our fantastic training programme are the corporate and litigation seats, and even the more specialist taxation seats are all available from day one as well. We offer a different approach to meet their business needs and provide excellent client service. The seats are done on a rotational basis, and the work is never dull and is mixed to provide an all-round learning experience for trainees. The pool system here allows trainees to move away from traditional seats and learn invaluable hands-on experience, it allows trainees to gain experience that will be invaluable once they qualify as a solicitor.

How many trainees do BLP have each year?

The training scheme is very unique compared to others at BLP, as the amount of places available varies each year. This year (2017/2018) in the new Manchester office there was an extra 2 places available as this was to allow the transition and opening of this new office. For 2018/2019 the number of trainees will vary, and this changes year on year.

Does BLP recognise diversity in the workplace?

At BLP, diversity and inclusion is at the heart of everything we do. From the managing partners to the admin staff we want everyone to feel comfortable and relaxed in their job and workplace. When it comes to training contracts it does not matter about your age, ethical background, religion. BLP is what we call a blind organisation when it comes to processing CV’s and applications; everyone is welcome to apply. The process is the same for every candidate across all offices.

What do BLP offer student lawyers?

BLP attend all the major law fairs up and down the country. Each year they attend the main fairs in Manchester, Oxford, London etc. They have what we call action teams and hold as many alumni/practice and mock interview sessions as we can. Across the year all offices, including Manchester, hold open evenings and current topic debate evenings- this year was Brexit negotiations.

Across the year all offices, including Manchester, hold open evenings and current topic debate evenings- this year was Brexit negotiations.

Do BLP offer vacation schemes?

BLP offer vacation schemes all year round, there is a 1 week vacation scheme in the Winter, a 1 week Easter vacation scheme, then there are 3 London based vacation scheme places for the summer.

What plans do BLP have for student lawyers in the future at the new Manchester Office?

When it comes to the future for BLP at the new Manchester office, we have committed to provide eligible applicants places on our training contracts till 2020. This shows commitment growth in our Manchester office to prevent a stalemate, and create a strong legal presence in the ever-changing current legal market.

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