Trainee Blog: Easing the transition from LPC Student to Trainee
It will come as no surprise that it is a long process to qualification when you commit to a career in law, but I can honestly tell you that you won't be going about it alone. I secured my training contract two years in advance of my starting date at Michelmores and over those two years the firm made regular contact, offered a range of support and provided many opportunities to meet future colleagues at both professional and social events. This, I believe, has been essential in easing the transition between being a student and starting at Michelmores as a trainee solicitor.
There are a number of ways in which I was supported by Michelmores before starting:
Trainee Buddy Scheme
In the year before we join, we are paired up with a current trainee who can be the first port of call for questions about the LPC, the training contract, different seats or anything else. It is also good to have someone familiar to talk to when attending firm events.
As the time gets closer, HR will be in contact with all the relevant information and documentation we need to join – that's not to say that you cannot contact HR anytime if you have a query. Some of the Michelmores HR team came to our University of Law campus to meet myself and other future Michelmores' trainees before our final exams to have a general catch up and to answer any questions we had.
Invitations to internal and external events
The firm have been really keen to integrate us from the start and I was invited to attend a range of events. I remember attending the late summer ball, trainee drinks and Junior Lawyers Division events and on my first day, I had familiar, friendly faces to go and talk to.
Your first day as a trainee solicitor marks a significant milestone that you will have worked so hard, over many years, to achieve. Amongst all of the excitement, there will be a lot of things to get used to and it is important to give yourself time to adjust to your new role, workplace and team. Michelmores understands this and in our first two weeks, we had an extensive induction programme.
The induction helped us to settle in to the firm and included a variety of workshops and training.
In keeping with the 'one firm' approach at Michelmores, the trainees from each office attended the same induction. We had interactive discussions about the history, structure and strategic visions of Michelmores, the importance of personal development, content marketing and introductions to all departments. These sessions were structured around time meeting our supervisors and teams. This meant the first few weeks were not overwhelming in terms of new workloads and there were several networking lunches organised.
IT and Administrative support
As with any new job there are new IT systems and ways of working which will soon become second nature. It was useful to be given refresher sessions on all things IT, from timesaving shortcuts to programmes like Excel. We were taught how to record time and if we ever encounter IT issues, IT support is just a phone call away.
In addition, every team is supported by our valuable administrative support and firm wide Legal Document Team. Some tasks can be time intensive and it is useful to know that there are people in the firm who can assist with these. For example, I've been thankful for the support I've had in compiling a tribunal bundle for the very first time and getting to grips with pdfDocs.
Learning and Development
Although the majority of your time will be spent on chargeable matters, being a successful lawyer requires more than that: business development is an important feature of creating a sustainable client base and networking skills are key. Michelmores constantly offers a wide range of internal and external training sessions and events. Everyone is welcome to attend and, regardless of seniority, our participation is truly valued. I have learned a lot from the sessions I've participated in and understand the importance of continuous professional and personal development.
It can feel rather strange being trusted to manage your own time and workload, to include a productive balance of chargeable and non-chargeable time, but it is one of the ways that Michelmores gives you your own responsibility early on. There are many opportunities open to trainees and it is important to take them and develop your skills.
Health & Wellbeing
Employee wellbeing is hugely important at Michelmores and we have access to weekly yoga sessions, a subscription to a mindfulness app and a running club, amongst other sporting activities on offer. The start date also coincides with the Michelmores 5km run so trainees are encouraged to get involved, either running or opting to marshal which is another good opportunity to meet colleagues across the firm.
Further, we have MiVoice sessions where trainees have regular one-to-one catch-ups with those who have recently qualified which is a chance to check in or confidentially discuss any issues which may have arisen.
Whilst there is a lot to get used to when starting as a trainee, I feel that Michelmores offers a lot of support and opportunities for personal development during our training contract – this doesn't stop when we qualify either.
If you are starting a training contract, remember to give yourself time to adjust, don't be overly worried about making mistakes, ask lots of questions and ensure you are always ready and willing to get stuck in.