The final countdown (to qualification as a Solicitor)
Like me and my peers here at Michelmores, many second year trainees will have recently found themselves in the last seat of their training contract, facing the final six months of training before attaining that long strived for ambition: qualification.
Turning the corner into 2016 has allowed me to step, cautiously but optimistically, into what I consider to be the "home straight".
My journey to the home straight began nearly seven years ago and has been marked by a number of milestones that, when considered together, have given me the essential knowledge and skills required on qualification.
Routes into a Training Contract will differ, but my personal pre-Training Contract checklist looks something like this:
- Three year Degree (Law)
- Work experience (legal and non-legal)
- One year full-time paralegal experience
- One year full-time Legal Practice Course
- Two year Training Contract
A Training Contract in itself is made up of important landmarks: passing a probationary review, undertaking interim and mid-seat appraisals (six down, two to go), completing a Professional Skills Course (five modules down, two to go), not to mention gaining as much experience as possible over four seat rotations.
What many trainees will find, and it has certainly been my experience, is that they will gain different skills depending on which area of law they sit in. Some areas have lots of client contact; some very little. Some areas may deal with complex questions of law and are research-heavy; others may deal with a high volume of relatively straightforward precedent-based work. Some areas may require trainee input on just small part of a large matter; in other, trainees might be able to run files themselves. In the early stages, I used to worry that my experience was not the same as my peers. However, what is now clear is that by the time we wind up on the "home straight", the seat rotation process has given us all the same broad range of skills, and landed us on even footing, as indeed it is intended to.
In the next few months me and my fellow trainees at Michelmores will have just a few final hurdles to overcome. The pre-qualification process consists of finding out what newly qualified jobs are available, preparing a CV, applying for the NQ roles we are interested in, interviewing for those roles and then, hopefully, starting September with a bang as a Newly Qualified Solicitor…
…from then on, the story continues!