Top 10 tips for starting as a Trainee Solicitor - Trainee Blog
Starting as a trainee can sometimes be daunting. Our trainee solicitors have put together 10 top tips to help you along the way.
- Prioritise effectively. Usually, you should prioritise your direct supervisor’s work before the work of other members of the department. Sometimes this may mean speaking to the Partner you work for about your workload and they will assist you to manage the expectations of others in the team.
- Be friendly and try to stay on good terms with the legal secretaries. They are the real eyes and ears of the departments and can help you tremendously throughout your seat.
- Make time to socialise with your fellow trainees. If you work in different departments, on different floors, or different offices it may be difficult to catch up. Trainee lunches and social events are a great way to see how everyone is doing. If you ever need help, they’re in the same boat as you and will be a good port of call. You could also make some really good friends!
- Be organised. Keep a ‘To Do’ list or a ‘Work List’, no matter how rough. Sometimes your list of things to do will seem never-ending, so it’s important that nothing gets missed and that you are able to prioritise. Maintaining a trainee diary is also a requirement from the SRA.
- Volunteer for things that will not only be beneficial to the firm, but to you too. Do some work for a charity your firm supports: paint walls, do a bike ride or tackle an obstacle course. Often you do not have to organise these events yourself, but say yes to take part and get involved! Not only will it make you feel like you’re making a difference, but social responsibility can be important to firms and clients.
- Communicate. If you are feeling the pressure building up and think that you may struggle to meet deadlines, speak to your supervisor about your concerns before it gets too late. They are there to support you and it may be that they can assist you in managing your workload.
- It is always a good idea to have a notepad and pen at the ready to jot down nuggets of information that you pick up from colleagues around you. You will also pick up brownie points if your supervisor has forgotten a minor detail and you’ve got the info at hand.
- Don’t be afraid to ask questions – You’re not expected to know everything. Although you are expected to undertake research, your supervisor will also expect you to ask questions. Use your own initiative but remember that you are still learning. This is also a great way to learn from you mistakes, and for your supervisor to see where you’ve gone wrong. Being inquisitive is a great skill for a solicitor.
- Take a commercial approach – Clients do not want to hear legalistic language and for you to simply point out challenges and risks. Clients want to hear pragmatic solutions and ways to alleviate those risks. In some departments, it is almost as important to be commercially savvy as it is to understand the law.
- See the bigger picture. A training contract is widely compared to a two year interview but it’s important to remember that your hard work will pay off when you qualify in two years’ time.
Read other articles from our Trainee Blog
Posted by: Holly Baker