Thrown in at the deep end…
In September I started my first seat as a trainee in our Corporate team. The standard reaction I received when I told people that my first seat was in Corporate was that it was going to be "very tough" and in some ways, that reaction was justified. I was thrown in at the deep end having joined the team during a particularly busy month in which many of the fee earners were completing multiple deals −some of which on the same day.
I have come to realise that corporate work tends to come in waves, now I'm used to it, this really suits me as I work best when there are fast, intense periods followed by more temperate ones. The dynamic of corporate work can be tough in a first seat, requiring trainees to quickly get their heads around how corporate transactions work, the legal aspects of the transaction, and the roles of other legal disciplines − all whilst learning office systems and how to manage their own responsibilities. There's a lot to learn, but this has prepared me well for the challenges to come..
Working as part of the corporate team has also allowed me to gain some great insight into the way companies operate. I have helped complete the due diligence process required for share and asset acquisitions, produced an information memorandum for a share issue relating to a new venture and I have also been lucky enough to sit in on a number of client meetings. It's pretty cool being sat across a board room table with the directors of multimillion pound companies and hearing how they view and run their businesses.
Being a trainee at Michelmores isn't all about legal work however. Trainees are actively encouraged to learn and be involved in marketing and business development. We frequently help out at and attend events that the firm runs. I have recently been involved with the Insolvency Club evening event and the annual Employment Conference. I have also played cricket as part of the Corporate Cricket League team, sat on the panel at an "ask a trainee" presentation to students at the University of Exeter and attended a quiz night at the Exeter Chief's ground, Sandy Park. At the quiz, we were even lucky enough to have the Chief's captain, Dean Mumm seated at our table.
Great training and a large number of events allow us trainees to develop critical business development and networking skills. Participation and attendance are actively encouraged and taking these opportunities allows me to build on my skills and learn to network. I feel supported in taking these opportunities by my team and my supervisor, who are keen for me to attend a diverse range of training and events whenever my workload allows, to facilitate my personal improvement and to give me a well-rounded training contract.
So far my experience of working at Michelmores is that you are given responsibility early on, in legal work and in client contact. This can be daunting at first, but forces you to learn quickly and become more confident, helping to develop the skills you need to become a successful Solicitor.