As I approach the end of my Training Contract, and like my fellow trainees, I now appreciate the breadth of work conducted in the four seats but also the various ‘non-chargeable’ opportunities that have shaped my Training Contract. We are encouraged to participate in the Firm’s several initiatives which allows for that well sought after ’rounded’ experience that everyone talks about. This factor was also considered in our NQ job applications (my colleague George explores the application process a bit further here). Given the wealth of benefits, both from personal and professional perspectives, below are a few examples of opportunities that I have been involved over the last two years.
Across the seats, there have been opportunities to attend and support the Firm at events where we invite clients and contacts. These events would serve as opportunities to foster relationships in a more relaxed and ‘non-legal’ context.
Examples include partnering with the Women in Telecoms & Technology (WiTT) to host a Women in Tech event and hosting clients for lunch whilst hearing from authors talk about their books and inspirations. I have enjoyed finding out more about the clients that we assist and in turn collaborate with colleagues from other teams.
As the header suggests, depending on your current seat or interest, you will have the opportunity to attend events (alongside other people) that target certain areas of law which often presents itself as a business development opportunity.
As a Commercial and Corporate trainee, I have been involved with the day-to-day running of MAINstream. This is the Firm’s initiative to encourage investment in the South West by connecting angel investors with innovative start-ups. My colleague Will and I cover this in some detail in a previous article here, but after the pitch events, I had the opportunity to hold conversations with both investors and founders of interesting companies. This allowed me to talk about different topics and on instances where I have little knowledge about a sector, I have become more comfortable to ask questions or to simply listen to those that know more than me.
Team collaboration is heavily encouraged at Michelmores. Whilst in Corporate and supporting the Agriculture team with coordinating our podcast series, I attended the Cereals 2023 event, given our mutual focus on Natural Capital. This two-day event allowed me to put my networking skills to the test and it was insightful to see how other senior fee earners network and interact with existing contacts or potential new clients.
As a Firm, we want to attract the best talent and as trainees we get the opportunity to meet prospective candidates and talk about our experiences. I have attended a few Q&A panel, open days and law fairs. I found these useful when researching firms and having the opportunity to delve into others’ experiences further can give context to a nice brochure / website.
Michelmores’ programme ‘Momentum’ has partnered up with VisionPath to create opportunities for disadvantaged students in the South West. As my colleague Charlie discusses here, volunteering to run presentations on a range of skills aimed at secondary school students was rewarding. It also allowed us to talk to students who had an interest in law but might have not had the opportunities to explore this further. Ultimately, connecting with the schools in this way equipped students with skills and tools but also encouraged those with an interest in law to apply for work experience at the Firm.
Whilst most activities raised rely on in-person events, our online presence is as important. Producing website content like this article (as part of our ‘Trainee Blog’ series) or other sector specific articles enables a wider audience reach. You might not have the time to attend every event and speak to every person – a useful article that can point people in the right direction or update them on an important legal point is always welcomed.
This leads me to the next point: do not be shy to show off your work. This is something that might not come easy for a lot of people but try to get in the habit of posting on social media (e.g. LinkedIn) about the content you have put out. If not comfortable at first, then share and repost content from other colleagues.
I have enjoyed partaking and supporting the various events over the last two years – it’s something that lawyers will continue to focus on in their careers and it’s the interesting and more social aspect of the usual day-to-day work. A few take aways from me: