New year, my final seat! - Trainee Blog
January 2021 marks the start of a new year, and I am delighted to embark on my final six months of life as a trainee solicitor, before qualifying – eeeeek!
My previous seats have been private family, public family, company commercial/commercial property, and now I am back to private family where I hope to qualify in July. My training contract has been particularly family law focused, as I worked out early on that I had a particular interest and hoped to ultimately qualify as a family lawyer.
In addition to moving departments, I have also moved offices from our Luton office over to Berkhamsted and it’s nice to see some familiar faces that I worked closely with during my first seat (albeit on Zoom or from a socially acceptable distance due to the COVID-19 pandemic). They say you should be careful what you wish for, and the various lockdowns have proved that I am not well suited to working from home. I find it claustrophobic and difficult to be able to switch off and maintain a good work/home life balance.
This year, I intend to hit the ground running, and this is even more important with the family team being as busy as ever. My training supervisor is a partner in the family law department who frequently does his own advocacy work. I hope to develop my advocacy skills further during this seat, and it’s great to be able to shadow him and learn ‘on the job’ by sitting in on client meetings, assisting with drafting and preparing any court application and then attending court (either physically or remotely) with my supervisor to see the action unfold. I thrive on the fast-paced nature of working in the family team, and shadowing a partner is a great way to pick up tips and tricks for advocacy. This week, my supervisor has four hearings in the diary so it’s a busy week, in addition to the usual client meetings, department meetings and networking events.
My supervisor asked if I felt confident enough to cover a simple directions hearing towards the end of the week. This meant that I had plenty of time to prep, but also plenty of time for the nerves and anxiety to set in! I decided to step out of my comfort zone and agreed to cover the hearing. Thankfully, the hearing itself went smoothly and I even negotiated and agreed a final order with the solicitor on the other side, so panic over. It was a great learning curve and I have benefitted from this hands-on experience throughout my training contract.
It’s safe to say that family team are keeping me on my toes, and I’m looking forward to seeing what the next six months will bring!
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