The start of your training contract is an exciting time, for it marks the end of all the hard work at university and all of the time spent researching law firms, on applications, vacation schemes and assessment days. However, for many people, the excitement of beginning a training contract is tempered by the abundance of nerves that you feel prior to that first day. For me, the biggest concern was wondering exactly what type of work I would be doing, and how much responsibility I would be given by my supervisor. As it turns out, these questions were quickly answered.
After just three weeks as a trainee in the Commercial Litigation team, I was presented with a bundle and asked if I was available to attend a High Court hearing in the Technology and Construction Court to represent the claimant. It is safe to say that I did not anticipate ‘advocacy’ to appear on my ‘to-do-list’ quite so soon after starting my training contract; however, the support and guidance I was given in preparation for the hearing was fantastic, and helped to transform a seemingly intimidating task into a highly memorable experience.
My supervisor was happy to answer every question that I had, and the other members of my team were equally helpful in making sure that I was prepared. I was thoroughly briefed on the background details of the matter, the documents in the bundle, the points that might be raised in defence, the client’s concerns, and most importantly what the correct court procedure was and how I should address the Judge. Furthermore, as a trainee, I did not have the necessary rights of audience to speak in the High Court; consequently, my supervisor had requested that the hearing be heard in chambers. However, upon arriving at the Rolls Building and introducing myself to the court usher, I was informed that – with the Judge’s approval – the hearing remained listed to be held in open court. The hearing went well, and the order in question was granted, giving me an immense feeling of accomplishment.
I walked away from the experience with a renewed appreciation for the opportunities that a training contract at Michelmores offers me, and with a deeper understanding of the level of responsibility and trust that the firm places in its trainees. The experience has also reminded me of the importance of saying ‘yes’, and of being willing to get stuck in to the opportunities presented to you during your training contract, no matter how daunting they might seem. I was fortunate enough to be trusted to represent Michelmores and the claimant in court and, thanks to much assistance and direction from my supervisor and colleagues, I can now say that in my first month as a trainee solicitor, I performed advocacy in front of a High Court Judge.