Trainee Blog: Highlights from my first year as a Trainee Solicitor
A little over a year ago, I joined the Firm as a Trainee Solicitor and in what feels like no time, I now find myself more than halfway through my training contract. As a trainee, it can be tempting to only look to the future, because questions such as "which area of law should I specialise in?" and "which office will I be based in after I qualify?" are always in the back of your mind. However, in this blog I take a moment to remind myself of some standout moments which made the last year such an enjoyable and enriching start to my career at Michelmores.
Below are five personal highlights since I joined, as well as a few honourable mentions:
The first time I went into the Exeter office and met my fellow trainees in person
Having applied for a training contract with Michelmores during the pandemic, I attended a virtual assessment centre and accepted my offer letter without ever visiting the Firm (or meeting any of my future colleagues) in person. Walking into Woodwater House (our Exeter HQ) and standing in the office for the first time was an exciting moment, and I was immediately put at ease when some fellow trainees joined me on a tour of the building with our Facilities Manager. Although we had all gotten to know each other during the virtual trainee induction, our first face-to-face meeting brought out a real sense of camaraderie and reassured me that the Firm was right for me.
Receiving positive feedback from a client
Fundamentally, a law firm is like any other business; its long-term success depends on providing a consistent and high-quality service level to its clients. To meet this standard, lawyers need to help a client understand the legal and commercial implications of a decision or course of action in a timely and cost-effective manner. With this in mind, it is always invigorating to see a client acknowledge your hard work in delivering an outstanding service. During my seat in the Banking team, I was delighted when a client emailed my supervisor, noting that I had done an "excellent job providing detailed feedback and helping to ensure that things moved forward" on various lending matters which needed to be resolved with haste.
Attending a client's hearing in the Court of Appeal
When I accompanied an Associate to our client's hearing in the Court of Appeal, I felt a familiar sense of awe walking through the historic halls of the Royal Courts of Justice (RCJ). In fact, I had been to the RCJ once in the past, as a sixteen-year-old during a college field trip. While that earlier visit to the RCJ partly inspired me to pursue a career in law, my recent visit, in a professional capacity this time, filled me with a new sense of pride and reminded me of how far I had come. That feeling was epitomised when, instead of taking a seat in the public gallery (like I had done as a student), I found myself seated on the solicitor's bench, behind our client's barristers.
Winning a prize in our Wellbeing Challenge
Last winter, some of my fellow trainees organised a fantastic Firmwide Wellbeing Challenge, which took the form of a team competition in which points were awarded for exercise minutes completed by team members during each day. Alongside prizes for the highest scoring team and highest scoring individual at the end of the challenge, we also had a number of bonus categories for the less fitness-fanatic types (like me!), such as 'Best Team Photo', 'Most Scenic Route', and 'Best Strava Artwork'. I was thrilled when my submission in the 'Muddy Boots' category took first place, since I was well off the pace on the individual scoring leader board!
It might be a stretch to describe an entire six-month period as a highlight, but my secondment to London (where I worked in the Corporate department during my second seat) was a genuinely great experience, and one which I recommend to all of the Firm's trainees. As well as getting involved in some very interesting capital markets and impact investment work, the hot-desking layout of the Liverpool Street office allowed me to regularly meet and get to know lawyers from various departments, even if I wasn't working directly with them. In addition, various after-work events, such as our shuffleboard social at the London Shuffle Club, as well as frequent networking drinks, were great for building personal connections with colleagues and clients in a less formal setting.
- Conducting my first completion call during my Corporate seat, to agree with the other side's lawyers that our client's acquisition of a commercial target was complete
- Attending and taking note of a tripartite settlement meeting during the first week of my Projects seat
- Meeting lawyers from across all the contentious departments in the Firm at the Litigators' Conference in Bristol
- Joining colleagues from all our offices for the Corporate Summer Social, including a boat trip across the Exe to reach the venue.