Life As A Trainee Solicitor – Part 2
by Matthew Bretherick – Trainee Solicitor at Consilia Legal
I have now finished my third week as a Trainee Solicitor and still really enjoying my Training Contract. From being a paralegal, my working day has changed as I mentioned in my first post. One of the major differences between the two roles is the time spent on tasks. As a paralegal I would have some research to do or a big legal task that I would need to spend a big chunk of time on, but usually for tasks like file set ups, invoicing or speaking to the courts for updates on cases, the quicker you could get these things turned around for the fee earner the better. This is a stark contrast to my role now where I will spend a good chunk of time on each task.
Some of my current tasks are drafting two witness statements for ongoing cases that we have at Consilia. This drafting work is very interesting and a very good learning experience. It involves reading through all the documentation that’s been sent over by the client, setting out a plan of how you’re going to get their case across, and making sure it hits all the relevant legal points along the way. You also get to see how different companies operate and set out the policies; it really helps you understand the procedures involved behind the law.
My third week also gave me my first experience of an urgent job and working to a strict deadline. There had been a delay in the client receiving the claim form due to the pandemic and remote working and the deadline for submission of the ET3 response was the next day. My tasks for that afternoon were dropped and work quickly began on drafting the response. That afternoon and the subsequent day involved a lot of emails back and forth with the client, to ascertain more information which became relevant. The final afternoon involved several calls with the client and my colleagues in the employment department helping me draft or proofread the response so a big thank you to them! It was a genuine team effort, and this is one of the main reasons I really enjoy working at Consilia, the team. We got the response submitted and it was a very good learning experience of working under pressure. I learnt a lot from the job but one of the things I have taken away from this and my other drafting jobs, is that you can always improve your proofreading!
One of the big challenges of my training contract, which may be relevant to people reading this (hopefully it won’t be in the not too distant future), is the fact that I’m working remotely due to the national lockdown. At the office we have an open plan layout with our desks together set out in the two teams of the firm. You are never more than 5ft away from a conversation between a client or someone there to answer a question. A real benefit of being in the office was learning by osmosis, how to speak to clients, picking up little bits of law that you didn’t know or little tips on how to negotiate with the other side; a lot of this was picked up just by being in the office. I am very lucky to be working with a very experienced team who are always happy to help out with any questions or any tasks I have but missing out on developing my skills by watching them in practice is a challenge. Hopefully one that won’t last for too much longer!