Trainee Blog: Picking a seat based on tasks that you enjoy

When choosing your seats, as well as considering the areas of law that interest you, you should consider the types of tasks that you like doing. For example, you might enjoy drafting, research, or advocacy/oral presentation. In this article, I consider the type of work that I have enjoyed throughout my training contract so far, how this could influence my final two seat choices and opportunities that trainees have to reflect on the same.

The exposure that trainees get to different types of tasks will vary depending on their seat. As a generalisation, transactional seats can involve lots of drafting, due diligence and negotiation, and contentious seats can involve lots of research, preparation of written arguments and even some advocacy.

Types of work

  1. Preparing written arguments

I have thoroughly enjoyed preparing written arguments, including drafting witness statements, letters before action and applications to Court. I am therefore interested in choosing third and fourth seats in which I’ll be able to continue developing this skill. I am most likely to achieve this by opting for a contentious seat because this will involve acting for a client in relation to a dispute or an anticipated dispute and putting forward written arguments to advance their case in a way that will achieve their desired outcome.

  1. Client contact

I have also loved having lots of direct contact with clients, including attending client meetings, answering client phone calls, and attending hearings with clients. For that reason, I would like third and fourth seats where I will continue to have similar opportunities. Private client seats tend to involve a great deal of client contact as these types of clients are often keen to have regular meetings with their solicitor. In addition, because of the nature of the work, solicitors often get to know their clients well and build positive professional relationships with them. Alternatively, certain real estate seats can involve lots of client contact as there are some lower value matters that trainees run and act as the first point of contact for the client.

  1. International work

I have found the international aspects of matters that I have been involved with interesting and I have enjoyed learning about the technicalities involved in international work. In order to be able to continue to develop my knowledge in this area, I can opt for third and fourth seats in teams that undertake international work that trainees can get involved in. There are teams in each of the Firm’s three Groups that have substantial involvement in international work, including (but not limited to) the Commercial & Regulatory Disputes Team, the Restructuring & Insolvency Team, the Family Team and the Tax, Trusts & Succession Team.

Opportunities for reflection

There are many opportunities that trainees can take to reflect on the work that they have done and whether they have enjoyed it, which helps to inform future seat choices and ultimately which area to qualify into.

  1. Training Diary – trainees have to complete a training diary throughout the course of their training contract. It is a record of the tasks that they complete in each seat and the skills they have developed from undertaking each task.
  2. Seat Reviews – trainees have a mid and end of seat review in every seat. In addition to discussing the things that the trainee has being doing well and the things that they could improve on, trainees discuss the tasks that they have been doing so far and the tasks that they have had less exposure to and how they can seek out more opportunities to get involved with the same.
  3. Trainee Blog – trainees at Michelmores write articles for the Firm’s Trainee Blog. Articles explaining a typical day in the life of your seat or explaining the nature of your seat are very useful to reflect on what you have been doing.

In summary, when training you should always keep in mind which elements of the work you enjoy doing at a ground level, as well as the overall area of law. This should help you to make the most out of your seat choices.

Please feel free to get in touch if you would like to discuss seat options, or any other aspect of trainee life.