A few things they don’t teach you in law school about being a trainee solicitor……
1. Flexibility is key
One day you’re stuck in a dark room photocopying your way through 10 boxes of lever arch files from a court case in 1999. The next day your supervisor is on holiday and counsel is on the phone asking questions about next week’s hearing and expecting you to know the answers. Suddenly you’ve gone from dogsbody to the leading authority on a case. Just remember to take the rough with the smooth – some work may seem menial to you but it is probably very important in the grand scheme of a matter. Be sure to complete all tasks to the best of your ability and without complaining. You will eventually be rewarded with high quality work and more responsibility.
2. Know your colleagues
You might only be in your first seat but make sure you get to know colleagues in other departments. Cross-departmental working is of paramount importance in law firms. For example, you might be working on a corporate deal where you need advice from the employment department, a banking deal where you need a tax specialist’s perspective or a private client matter where you need to work closely with the property department. If you’ve already met your colleagues, it will be much easier to pick up the phone and ask them for help. And more likely they will respond to you quickly so you can get your work done on time!
3. Support staff are your best friend
The chances are your team secretary has been working at the firm longer than you and actually knows a lot more about the area of law than you do. Befriend your personal assistant and they’ll be more likely to fill in that expenses form without a hiccup. Get the accounts department on your side and that money to the Land Registry will have been transferred in the blink of an eye. Treat all colleagues, regardless of their job title, with respect and you will go far.
Are you a trainee keen to share your tips with others? Get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org.