How COVID-19 has impacted my training contract - Trainee Blog
My training contract was due to start on the 1st July 2020, and thankfully unlike many other firms, Machins did not postpone my start date because of COVID-19.
I started my first seat, in the Private Family department in the Berkhamsted office, when the effects of the pandemic were lessened and ‘Rishies Dishes’ were all the rage.
On my first day, I was pleased to find out I would be working in a partner’s office with my own A/C - my very own COVID-secure environment! The firm had good social distancing and hygiene measures in place and a rota for qualified solicitors to come in to the office, to provide me with support, should I need it. Everyone was extremely welcoming; I quickly befriended the secretaries and the daily family team meetings, over Zoom, enabled me to get-to-know everyone on the team. Although the office was quieter than normal I was always able to contact someone if I had a query.
The pandemic has not affected the work I have been given, if anything I am able to shadow my supervisor on more remote hearings and utilise the time I would have spent travelling to court on other tasks. Working from home during lockdown two and three has had its challenges and benefits; I have set routines such as walking on my lunchbreak and ensuring I stand up for one minute per hour to stay mobile and add further structure to my day. Although working remotely, I have still been able to get involved with recruitment fairs, organise networking events, implement new trainee-led marketing ideas, and write this trainee blog, to help me build on existing skills and become a more rounded Solicitor.
I count myself very lucky that COVID has had a very minor impact on my training contract, with the biggest impact being the way I interact with people; hearings via telephone, client meetings via Microsoft Teams and department catch-ups via Zoom. The pandemic has definitely encouraged new ways of working, e-bundles are more efficient to amend and have added environmental benefits, and less time is wasted waiting at court. Although we can work more efficiently, this comes at the cost of not seeing our colleagues every day and having to remember to put time aside to call for a catch-up.
Needless to say, I am excited for life to return to normality, for terms like social distancing, essential travel and lockdown to be a thing of the past and to spend some more face-to-face time with my colleagues around the office.