As a trainee, with each seat rotation often comes a new area of law to grasp.
I am currently in my second seat, Agricultural Litigation. When I started in my seat in March, not only was the sector brand new to me, but I was also relatively new to civil litigation.
Over the past three months, I have taken opportunities to expand my knowledge and understanding of the sector, and civil procedure more generally, to be able to contribute further towards the team’s delivery of excellent client service.
Outside of the client work, there are also plenty of opportunities at the firm to develop sector specific knowledge relevant to your team.
Webinars and conferences provide insight into different topics which can help you to build knowledge and discover new interests.
For example, I recently attended the Insect as Food and Feed Conference held by the Royal Entomological Society. Rachel O’Connor, a partner in the team, hosted a panel and speakers from across the food and insect industries spoke knowledgeably about the changes to the law since Brexit and the implications of using insect protein in agriculture, aquaculture and the human food chain for a more sustainable future.
Another webinar I attended recently explored new legislation allowing for the gene editing of plants and animals. The ethics, practicalities, and legal ramifications of the new act were discussed by three experts in the field.
Whether it is bio-diversity, sustainable farming, property and land law, or the law of equity and trust (to take just a few examples), the agricultural sector is wide and varied and there is much scope to develop a deeper knowledge and also discover where your own interests may lie.
It is important to stay up to date with the law as it evolves, both as a trainee and beyond.
Within the Agriculture team, we generally have two knowledge sessions a week. One is specially aimed at the juniors in the team and one is for the team as a whole.
The sessions can be on any area of law, such as landlord-tenancy law, civil procedure, biodiversity and natural capital to name a few, and may feature case law updates and discussions of upcoming legislation and the implications of these for the team and our clients.
Trainees are also encouraged to deliver at least one knowledge session or case law update throughout our time in the seat. This is a great opportunity to become knowledgeable in a certain topic and practice your presentation skills.
In the Agriculture team, there are plenty of opportunities to get out of the office to truly gain first-hand experience in the rural sector. I had the opportunity to attend a Women in Rural Practice (a network founded by Michelmores’ Senior Associate, Charlotte Razay) farm walk held at Farm Ed’s Honeydale Farm in the Cotswolds. Farm Ed operates this demonstration farm to teach interested visitors about regenerative and sustainable farming. Highlights at the farm include herbal leys, wildflower meadows, a heritage orchard with over 250 species of fruit trees, a large kitchen garden that supplies the local community with seasonable and local veg, and a micro dairy that provides a more ethical and sustainable delivery of milk.
This is one example of the great opportunities to meet other professionals in the field and expand your appreciation and knowledge of the farming sector. You return to the office with a renewed sense of inspiration and motivation.
Overall, there are a plethora of opportunities to discover new areas and expand on your knowledge in whichever seat you do. This helps to ensure that your experience in the team is well-rounded, challenging and rewarding.