A day in the life as a Trainee Solicitor in the Employment Department - Trainee Blog
My Training Contract began on the 1st July 2020 during the height of the covid-19 pandemic so I guess my experience differs somewhat to previous Trainees, but nonetheless I have done my best to adapt to a socially distanced/remote working Training Contract.
7:15am: My alarm goes off. As I am currently working from home, I get an extra 15-20 minutes in bed due to not having to commute to work. Once I am awake, I will jump in the shower and get dressed into some comfortable but work appropriate clothes for the day, which probably involves tracksuit bottoms and a plain t-shirt, unless I have a hearing diarised, in which case I will put something smart on.
08:00am: Head downstairs for breakfast which consists of a bowl of Weetabix, blueberries and a filter coffee which we refer to in our house as “a nice coffee”. As I still live with my parents and my Dad also works from home, I get the short straw in terms of my “office space” which means I have to move the table into the living room and set up my laptop and desktop screens ready for the day. My Dad always argues that I could always move out, so it’s definitely a case of put up or shut up.
08:30am: I have never been one who finds it easy to switch off so I tend to like to start half hour early to give myself a bit of extra time to review emails that have come in overnight and deal with anything urgent, or that I have been putting off. Once I have read my emails, I will check how they affect my ‘to do’ list and make any necessary amendments based on what has come in.
09:00am: I have just started my second seat in the Employment department, which to some extent, despite being at the firm for over 6 months now, does feel like starting a new job. My first task of the day involves researching harassment and victimisation in the workplace and providing a short summary for my supervisor. Despite having not been required to do much research within my previous seat in the Public Family department, this is a vital skill to being effective in the Employment team and so I often leave PLC open for ease of access. Researching something can be frustrating, particularly if the supervisor you are working with needs an urgent response. Sometimes, you’re lucky and stumble across the answer within the first link you click on, and other times it can take a while longer as you sift through the irrelevant information to find the specific detail you are after.
10:30am: The next task is to sit in on a settlement agreement meeting with a client over Zoom. Usually I will have already reviewed the settlement agreement and highlighted the parts which require further discussion or amendments. My role whilst the meeting takes place is to prepare the attendance note and keep track of any comments that the client makes which will affect the amendments required. Once the meeting concludes, I will prepare an email to the Employer to request the amendments and send that off to my supervisor for their approval.
11:30am: I am part of the Social Committee at Machins and we regularly meet to discuss the agenda for the coming months. Before Christmas, we arranged a remote escape room which was a great way of speaking to people I hadn’t previously met and it turned out to be a great laugh. Despite being fairly confident going into it I must disclose that I was absolutely useless, and you do not want to get locked in an escape room with me as the chances are we will not escape. The meeting takes place and it is agreed that we will arrange a Yoga/wellbeing session outside of working hours and that we will have a ‘Guess the pet’ picture competition where everyone sends in pictures of their pets and you have to guess the owner. My dog was best pleased when I was dressing him up in my old QPR shirts…
12:00pm: On another matter I have been tasked with drafting both an open letter and a ‘without prejudice’ letter to the employer setting out the basis of our claim i.e that our client has made several protected disclosures and that he has been subjected to a detriment as a result. Being a contentious seat, this is a helpful opportunity to improve my litigious skills by setting out a detailed and clear analysis of our client’s position in a firm, but fair letter.
13:00pm: Lunchtime! If it’s not raining outside, I will take the dog for a walk around the block to get some fresh air and give my eyes a rest. When I am back, I’ll tuck into a chicken salad sandwich before starting work again.
14:00pm: Back to the hustle – quick check through my emails and my supervisor has asked me to draft contracts for a senior and junior employee, with particular focus on the restrictive covenants in the senior employee’s contract. Using PLC QuickDraft and the completed contract questionnaire, I knock those out and make the necessary amendments before sending them to my supervisor.
15:15pm: Skype call with my supervisor to discuss the research I did earlier and lay out my task list over the next few days. Given the current working climate, it is nice to see another friendly face other than my immediate household.
15:45: I have set some time aside to work on the marketing tasks I have been putting off due to having a busy workload. I am due to do a presentation for a local Sixth Form about life in a regional law firm and rather helpfully, I am also writing a Trainee Blog on my route to becoming a Trainee. Marketing is not something that comes naturally to me, but I try to throw myself into as much extra-curricular activities as possible as it not only gives off a good impression, but will help me to become a more rounded Solicitor who offers more than just strong legal knowledge.
16:15: Sit in on a 30 minute consultation for a potential new client who informs us that they think their employer has discriminated against them on grounds of disability. It turns out that not only may this be the case, but they may have a case for unfair dismissal as a result of the employer not following the redundancy procedure thoroughly enough. I draft an email to the client advising them to start the ball rolling with ACAS and providing them with a quote should they need our assistance.
17:00: I receive an email from my supervisor who needs me to review the bundle I had prepared for an upcoming Employment Tribunal and ensure the new documents which form part of the disclosure are included. Luckily, our IT guys are brilliant and so once I have discovered where the documents need to be included, I pass over the responsibility to them and let them work their magic.
17:30: I review my ‘to do’ list and set out my priorities for tomorrow. I pack up my desk and leave the living room tidy to avoid annoying my parents and wrap up the day.
17:45: Working from home is not something I am overly fond of but one thing I find that helps keep me sane is regular exercise, so I jump on the spinning bike for half an hour and listen to some hip hop before joining my Dad for a 20 minute Joe Wicks’ session to get the blood pumping.
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