Two co-workers smiling and playing ping pong

Trainee Blog: participating in the Exeter Bigwave Business Games

With summer fast approaching, organisations across Devon are participating in the Bigwave Business Games – a series of challenges bringing local companies together in the spirit of friendly competition to support a nominated charity (this year, Hospiscare).

I recently took part in the first of six events, a Clip ‘n’ Climb competition in which each team (made up of four representatives per company) attempted to earn as many points as possible across a series of indoor climbs at the Exeter Climbing Centre. Each wall could be completed following an ‘easy’, ‘medium’, or ‘difficult’ route to the top, with successful ascents being awarded with more or less points depending on difficulty level (I can attest that the ‘difficult’ routes lived up to their name!).

Once the dust (or was that chalk?) had settled, our team placed second overall out of 24 teams in total, trailing first place by a single point. A strong effort all round, and a good launch pad for the firm heading into the subsequent challenges in June and July.

Developing transferable skills

Getting involved in social events outside of work can build new skills which will help you when you are back behind your desk.

For example, events like the Bigwave Business Games are often a great opportunity to network, as they allow you to meet people in a more relaxed setting. As a trainee, making connections with colleagues across the Firm, rather than just those you work directly with, will stand you in good stead as you progress through your training contract (and after qualification). Similarly, representing the firm in informal settings gives you the chance to practise the soft skills which will come in handy when you have to represent the Firm in more formal settings, such as during pitches and external meetings.

Similarly, linking up with colleagues to tackle a new task is a perfect opportunity to practise teamwork in a novel context. In the legal profession, you will rarely, if ever, be working on your own. In a leading firm advising on complex commercial matters, you will regularly be part of a team made up of lawyers from various practice areas who work seamlessly together to deliver a unified client service. Likewise, if you are acting on a discrete contentious matter, you will likely be working closely with an external counsel and your client during proceedings. Therefore, understanding how to work with others is essential, and becoming skilled at operating in different roles within a team is an important part of that process.

Finally, trying something new outside of the office can help you build confidence for when you have to take on something new at work. A training contract at Michelmores involves spending time in four different practice areas throughout a two-year period, so you will inevitably be faced with that familiar feeling – of not knowing how to do something – time and time again. Whilst this can be stressful for some, the more experience you have with being inexperienced, the better you will be able to adapt to that situation and deal with the next new task on your to-do list effectively.

Final thoughts

At Michelmores, trainees are encouraged to get involved in all aspects of the Firm, including ESG and pro bono workstreams, diversity & inclusion initiatives, client events, and sporting activities. Seizing those opportunities will not only bring extra fun, variety and balance to the role, it will also put you in a position to maximise your growth and performance in your day job.