The city of dreaming spires… and aspiring law careers

Jo Pilling is a trainee solicitor and Steph Hopcroft has recently completed her training contract and qualified into Private client. Both are based in our Oxford office. They talk about their experiences in their current seats, the culture at Royds Withy King and what it’s like to work in the historic city of Oxford.

Life in Commercial Property

You are guaranteed a warm welcome as soon as you enter our Oxford office with the concierge team ready to greet you. Across the office there is a great atmosphere; a real buzz. Steph Hopcroft has spend the last six months with the Commercial Property team:

“The team were brilliant and provided me with lots of responsibility including giving independent mortgage advice in client meetings, and reviewing the title and searches on   a multi-use property in preparation for auction and drafting leases.

There are plenty of cross referrals between departments, so I was exposed to a variety of other areas of the firm including Corporate & Commercial and our Property Disputes team. The team in Oxford are very supportive so no matter what question I had, I felt I  was always able to approach someone who would be happy to help.”

It’s a Family thing

Jo Pilling has just completed her seat with the Family Law team. She talks about her experiences:

“The Family team are situated next to the Private Client and Residential Property teams. This layout works well as it’s inevitable that there is a lot of need to communicate across teams on matters. The open plan layout facilitates this but there are also private meeting rooms for those times where you may need space to brainstorm or for collaborative team meetings. Everyone is extremely friendly and approachable between the teams; there is a real sense of belonging. My seat has been split between public and private family law but mostly focused on children.”


The firm has a strong commitment to CSR – especially in the local community. Last year our Oxford office raised an amazing £17,500 for the local charity Yellow Submarine. Using one of the volunteering days offered by the firm, we were invited to assist members of Yellow Submarine to attend a pantomime. It was fantastic to spend time with some of the young adults the charity works with and see how our donations help them. From donating £1 on dress down days to bake offs and Ironman competitions, there are ways for everyone to get involved.

Two colleagues recently took part in the Oxford half marathon, and in November we saw six colleagues take on burning coals in a fire walk! In the count-down to Christmas we held a bazar selling handmade gifts made by the craft club. It is great to see colleagues supporting one another to raise money for our chosen charity for 2017 -2019, Seesaw.


As a trainee, networking is a critical aspect of the job and in Oxford there is plenty to get involved with. We start the year in October with a New Starters’ event. Then throughout the year there are various interesting events to go to including a ball at the Randolph, wine tasting and a poker night to name a few. The Oxford Young Professionals Society is a great network of like minded professionals across the city and there are also monthly TT’s (Thirsty Thursday’s). Other networking opportunities will depend on the department that you are training in at the time. Jo says “In the Family team, I have had the opportunity to go to specific events for POINT and Resolution.”


There is certainly a happy work life balance in Oxford with plenty of opportunities to socialise with colleagues after work. As members of the social group, we are an integral part of this. Recently we hosted a treasure hunt around Oxford city centre where teams raced against the clock to solve clues and take selfies in order to find the buried treasure (a pile of chocolate coins in one of the local pubs!). We’ve also had a summer party in a teepee and a rather competitive game of Rounders between departments in University Parks. Themed monthly social drinks in the office are another great way to catch up with colleagues. You’re guaranteed to pick up something tasty whether that be churros at our Spanish event or a bahji during our Indian summer.


The central location of our office in the city of dreaming spires means there is so much to do; whether you want to use your lunch break to go shopping in Westgate or go for a stroll around one of the city’s many colourful markets. If you need some fresh air you could go for a wander around Christ Church Meadows. This vibrant city offers many opportunities making it a great place to work.

Contact us if you have any questions regarding your training contract application.

Get in touch

We will only use data from this form to process your enquiry.