- 11th Oct 2016
Article written by
I was offered my Training Contract in 2014 and started as a Trainee at Whitehead Monckton’s Maidstone office in September 2016. Although my first day seemed so far away to begin with, it soon came around so quickly! My first week involved a number of training inductions, visits to the Canterbury and Tenterden offices and lunch with the other trainees – this was a great opportunity to get to know them and ask any unanswered questions that I had.
At the start of my second week I was introduced to the Tax and Estate Planning department where I am currently spending my first sixth month seat. The prospect of this at first was a little daunting however, everyone in the team was extremely warm and friendly and I soon settled in.
What is great about Whitehead Monckton is that you are entrusted with a great deal of responsibility early on and you obtain a lot of client contact from day one. During my first month in the department, I attended a number of client meetings with my supervising Partner and I was asked to draft Wills, prepare draft Lasting Powers of Attorneys and even run my own Estate Administration file from start to finish under supervision. It’s amazing how much you learn in such a short space of time! Of course, as a Trainee you will have a lot of questions to ask however, there is always some on hand to help you and don’t be afraid as everything you do as a Trainee is checked by your supervisor (and even they were Trainees once!)
A typical day in the Tax and Estate Planning department will involve reviewing my emails, consulting the diary to see which meetings the fee earners have booked in for the day and reviewing my to- do list. It is best to schedule your work around the meetings as the fee earners will always take a Trainee in with them to meet the clients. You will be asked to take detailed notes of the meeting and then follow this up by opening up a new file, dictating an attendance note and often drafting a letter of advice to the client. Depending on the outcome of the meeting, your supervisor will then ask you to draft the necessary documents and give you a time frame for doing so. My very first task as a Trainee was to draft a new Will for a client. You will often be asked to carry out tasks which you have never done before but, this is all part of being a new Trainee and as you gain more practice and your confidence grows, it becomes a lot more enjoyable.
Although I have only worked at Whitehead Monckton for just over a month now, what is obvious about the firm is that it fosters a friendly and supportive working environment. Not only are you busy on a day-to-day basis in the office, there are also a number of social activities which as a Trainee you are encouraged to get involved with outside of work such as the staff quiz night, volunteering at Citizens Advice Bureau and fundraising events for the firm’s chosen charities. These are always a lot of fun and again, a great way to get to know your colleagues.
My next sixth month seat will be based in the Tenterden office and will be a ‘split’ seat working for the Residential and Commercial Property teams as well as the Tax and Estate Planning and Family department. Although I am starting to really settle into my first seat, I am looking forward to the new challenges that come with a new seat in 2017.