When I wrote my first training blog, I was only 3 months into my training contract. I mentioned then that I never expected those first three months to go by as quickly as they did. Well, here I am now almost a year later with time seeming to have flown by even more quickly (as clichéd as it sounds!).
I spent much of my first six months working from home (WFH), then in July 2021, we returned to the office embarking on the new normal. A WFH policy was introduced for staff, providing the option to WFH for up to 2 days a week. However, this does not extend to trainees. Many may view this as outdated with modern working practices, but I have to say that I have found it beneficial to be back in the office full time for supervision and learning purposes. I was really keen to return to the office and being back, I realise how vital it is as trainees that we are physically with people to work alongside them and learn from their experience and guidance. I have certainly found this to be so. I have also enjoyed finally meeting in person people who I spent 6 months working with in a virtual world and really getting to know them.
Now a year on from starting, I am coming to the end of my second seat which has been in the Corporate & Employment Team (Co-Emp). Before joining co-emp, I had very little experience with corporate law other than my law degree and some exposure during my study for the LPC. It has opened my eyes to the variety of work involved and the practical side that comes along with it. Some of the work has involved managing transaction due diligence, drafting various transaction documents, shareholders agreements and completing company incorporations. I have also attended the employment tribunal for a preliminary hearing and sitting in on various employment meetings. The team has been really active in getting me involved, allowing me to develop my skills and gain valuable knowledge and experience.
At the beginning of March, I will be joining the Family team for my 3rd seat. Anyone who spoke to me when I first started at Whitehead Monckton will be able to tell you that I was not keen on doing Family. It was the one area that if given the choice, I did not want to do as I did not enjoy it at uni. However, as time has moved on, and the more I have spoken to people, I am (much to Emma Palmer’s joy!) looking forward to my next seat in family and will come to it with a fresh set of eyes.
Our training principal, Emma Palmer, introduced a mentor/buddy system for trainees, which I have found really helpful. Each trainee is paired with a solicitor or legal exec who has recently qualified, so that we have someone to turn to should we need help with anything or just a friendly face to have around. The mentoring relationship has been invaluable, and I feel supported and valued as I continue my journey as a trainee.
Here are some things that I have taken on board throughout my journey so far and they have been invaluable:
- Ask the ‘stupid’ questions – they are by no means stupid, and unless you ask, you will never know the answer. We are here to learn after all! (Top tip passed on to me by Janet Goode – if the question feels silly in an email, then phone, text or speak to the fee earner in person as it won’t feel as daft)
- Be open minded. Don’t close yourself off to areas like I did because you did not enjoy it at uni. Everything is different in practice, test yourself and you may be pleasantly surprised!