A day in the life of a Trainee Solicitor
This is about the time of year that many law students and graduates will be finalising their training contract applications and starting to prepare for assessment centres. During this process, it is useful for applicants to have a solid understanding of the work culture of the law firms they are applying to, and, more generally, what life is like as a trainee solicitor!
Emma Jones, one of our second year Trainee Solicitors, kindly put together a “Day in the life of…” piece for Coffin Mew’s profile on the Lex 100. With the application deadline for both of our Open Day and Vacation Scheme fast approaching (1st April 2020), we thought it would be useful to share this piece with those who are considering submitting an application!
Departments to date: Court of Protection, New Homes and Family
University: University of Surrey – Law with International Relations QLD LLB
University of Law Guildford – Legal Practice Course
Assessment Centre: July 2016
Training Contract: September 2018 (2nd Year Trainee)
8.30am: I arrive on the office campus early to justify grabbing a Starbucks on my way up to my desk. Of course, I’ll be using my Coffin Mew reusable cup and saving 25p, so how could I not! I usually start my days slightly earlier to give me time to go through any urgent emails, formulate a to-do list and get an idea of what my day (or even week) will look like.
9:00 am: My family supervisor asks me to draft a ‘Without Prejudice’ offer letter for a client whose marriage has unfortunately irrevocably broken down. Having met with the client earlier in the week and taken on board her wishes for an amicable separation, I consider what might be a fair settlement and how we can potentially negotiate any financial issues with the other parties’ solicitors without the involvement of the court. I email across my draft letter to my supervisor for us to look over later in the afternoon.
10:45 am: Yesterday I met a client and counsel at Court for a Financial Dispute Resolution hearing. This was my first real exposure to a Court-room environment (outside the scope of mock-trials at University) which was all very exciting. However, I had to remain sensitive to the fact that our client would probably be more nervous than me and that the outcome of the hearing would have an impact on their life. The negotiations on the matter lasted the better half of an afternoon before reaching a settlement approved by the District Judge. I had been jotting down every offer and comment made between the parties and there was now a long attendance note to be typed up. I write this up for the file and share a few thoughts with my supervisor.
12:00 pm: It’s a sunny day and I plan on doubling my step-count by taking a power walk around the gorgeous office lake. I catch up with a few trainees from the other teams who have been equally busy, but we find time to plan our next social event – an escape room.
1:00 pm: I return to my desk and grab my notebook as I’m asked to attend a client meeting with my supervisor. We’re meeting a client on a fixed-fee basis in relation to his decision to issue divorce proceedings. The purpose of this meeting is to gather as much information as possible to decide what the next best steps are. Having advised on all available options, the client instructs us to get the ball rolling.
2:15 pm: I type up a quick attendance note and draft the initial advice letter to the client. It turns out that this could be a complex matter with multiple properties, business assets, MoD pensions and a potentially large inheritance to consider. I do a bit of additional research on pension sharing orders before passing back to my supervisor to check.
3:00 pm: A family solicitor based in another office sends me an email urgent request. I’m asked to look at the conduct of conveyancing on divorce. We have a client whose wife has requested a say in the sale process, but our client is the sole owner of the property. I have a look at case law considering similar scenarios before getting a bit of practical advice from a team member in the conveyancing department. I send a memorandum back to the solicitor detailing my findings which were then used as submissions in court.
4:15 pm: I have a catch up with my supervisor, discussing the draft documents I have sent across earlier in the day. While a few amendments are needed, I take on board the feedback.
4:50 pm: I take a couple of minutes to ensure that my time-recording is up to date and that my desk is tidy ready to start all over again tomorrow.
5:15 pm: I grab my jacket and meet the other trainees by reception. We’re heading to a Junior Lawyers Division cocktail-making event.
If you would like to find out more or to apply for our Open Day and Vacation Scheme (Dealine 1st April 2020) please take a look our recruitment page here. Alternatively, please get in contact with our Recruitment Manager, Brandon Du’chesne who will be happy to help.