All experience is good experience!
I am about to begin my last departmental rotation as a Trainee Solicitor before fully qualifying later this year and as I am nearing the end of my training it has been interesting to reflect on my journey here. Obtaining a training contract with a firm undeniably takes hard work - reaching this point in my career has been the culmination of countless late nights studying, whilst working non-law related jobs part-time alongside completing legal work experience. It is, however, an extremely rewarding feeling when you finally get to practice law.
When I was studying for my A-Levels I started a part-time job working as a Sales Negotiator at an estate agents. This role required me to liaise with conveyancers and is what inspired me to become a solicitor as being able to interpret, apply and advise on matters of law was something I found interesting. I subsequently accepted an offer to study Law at the University of Hull, which I did whilst remaining living at home. This may not have given me the ‘traditional’ student experience but it certainly provided advantages as continuing my employment as a sales negotiator and as a waitress (a second job I had) gave me the opportunity to further develop and gain skills that, whilst not law related, where undoubtedly transferable. Being able to communicate well with clients is an integral part of solicitor’s job and gaining experience of face-to-face and over the phone/email client contact, in an office and a restaurant environment from a young age meant I had the confidence to apply these skills when I started my job as a trainee solicitor.
Throughout my degree I managed to obtain a variety of different legal work experience, including at a mixture of law firms, barristers chambers and within different areas of law. Such a variety of experience meant I was able to distinguish between the areas of law I did/did not have an interest in, and also what type of firm environment I wanted to work within and ultimately led me to decide I wanted to work at Rollits.
I first met Donna and Ed from the firm, who I would 2 years later refer to as my colleagues, at a talk they gave at the university relating to interview techniques. Following attendance there, I applied to the firm for a place on their vacation scheme and later for a training contract, both of which I was successful in being offered. After graduating at Hull University I went on to study the LPC LLM in Professional Legal Practice at The University of Law in Leeds. Completing this course took a lot of commitment and determination. The workload is large and the content naturally challenging. However, I would say you ‘get out what you put in’ to the LPC, so if you manage your time efficiently, keep on top of your work and consume enough coffee for arguably a life time, you will do well on the course.
I started my position as a Trainee Solicitor at Rollits shortly after completing the LPC. Whilst the implications of COVID-19 meant unexpectedly having to adapt to working from home just 6 months into my employment, I have thoroughly enjoyed my time as a trainee and as an employee of the firm. The nature of a lawyers work means every day is different and especially for a trainee, this means continual learning and therefore work is never boring. Whilst some work can be challenging at times, you are always given guidance and support when needed and I would say the main thing to remember as a trainee is that you are not expected to know everything from day one.
Posted on: 24/02/2021
This article is for general guidance only. It provides useful information in a concise form. Action should not be taken without obtaining specific legal advice.