Jess Hopkins
Posted on 12 Feb 2021

Trainee blog: a day in the life of a Planning trainee (during a pandemic)

[Read time: 3 minutes]

Jess Hopkins, third-seat Trainee Solicitor, shares her experience of working remotely during the Covid-19 pandemic.

7:00: I wake up and prepare for another day working from home. I usually do a 30-minute HIIT workout with my housemates (which includes a pharmacist, cardiologist and meteorologist, so we are well equipped for any emergency …).

8:30: Whilst the Michelmores system on my laptop / screen is booting up, I make my first coffee of the day. My research skills have vastly improved since working at Michelmores, which did help me decide which Nespresso machine to buy (other brands are available).

8:31 I start my commute to work.

8:32: I have arrived.

8:33: I settle down at my designated work from home area (a desk two metres from my bed counts, right?) and eat my breakfast whilst checking my emails to see what has come in since the previous evening, allowing me to prioritise my workload.

9:00: I am currently in my third seat in the Planning team, a seat that offers a lot of variety in terms of day-to-day work. My first task of the day involves reviewing and making amendments to some contracts where we are acting for the Acquiring Authority in the making of a Compulsory Purchase Order and Side Roads Order for a large link road scheme in Cornwall.

11:00: Time for a MS Teams catch-up with the team. I am accused of 'blurring' my background, but turns out my white walls are actually just that boring. Besides the temperamental Wi-Fi connections, surprise pet appearances and frequent ‘you're on mute Jess’, it’s a great way to keep updated and connected with everyone.

12:00: I am asked to do an urgent bit of research. I know I need to prioritise this because the client needs the advice as soon as possible. As a trainee in Planning, research tasks are a fairly normal assignment to undertake. These can help broaden your knowledge and enable you to learn about unusual area of law you might otherwise not come into contact with (this has ranged from police helicopter sites to flower pots on a roof terrace)! I produce a report setting out my findings and considering any practical advice we can give the client.

13:30: I jump onto one of Michelmores 'Coffee Roulette' sessions over lunch, which are designed to recreate the conversations we currently miss through not being in the office together. They are run every week where you are placed randomly into a MS Teams break out room with three other colleagues from the Firm. This is a great way to get to know people across different teams, locations and roles. After this, I head out on my bike for a quick cycle ride.

14:30: I deliver a Knowledge Session on the Use Class Order 1987 and recent changes brought about by the Town and Country Planning (Use Classes) (Amendment) (England) Regulations 2020 (SI 2020 No.757) to other members of the Planning team. There has been a hive of activity in this area, and it is my job to keep on top of it!

15:30: I look through my emails and reply to those I can and add any tasks to my to-do list. My supervisor springs a random MS Teams upon me so I can help her decide what coat (there were several) to return.

16:00: I work with my supervisor on some urgent planning due diligence and combine our findings for a Report on Title, working closely with colleagues in Transactional Real Estate.

17:30: I sign off for the day. A solicitor, pharmacist, cardiologist and meteorologist walk into a bar … how lucky! I head off to IKEA to pick up some decoration to 'spice' up my MS Teams background.