A day in the life of a Wollens trainee solicitor
Rob Newton, Litigation Team, Torquay office:
8.30am: I arrive at the office and grab a coffee to start the day. I prefer to arrive a little earlier when it’s still quiet, in order to give myself some time to review my diary and tasks before deciding what the priorities of the day will be. It also gives me some time to catch up on the news with current and world affairs, including the legal updates I’m subscribed to. I check what meetings my colleagues and Head of Department have to see what help or learning experience I might gain by dealing with the more complex cases we take.
9.00am: I review my emails which have come in overnight or which I have tasked as a priority. This means that if any urgent matters come in, they can be dealt with early on. I have received an email from another firm in an inheritance and land dispute that I’m working on, requesting some further disclosure. I consider our client’s position and draft a response for my supervising partner to review. Knowing he has a full schedule for the day, I speak to one of my colleagues in our Newton Abbot office, who specialises in this area and I get his views on the position. I then email my supervising partner for his views before going back to the other side.
10.00am: I head up to the boardroom for our weekly departmental team meeting. This is a great way to discuss the cases and work which the department is dealing with and catch up with other team members about their cases and how I can help them out. The meeting also gives me the opportunity to see the diverse work we do and gets me involved on the more complex and interesting cases we’re working on. As always, colleagues are very appreciative of us trainees offering to help out and learn more about their specialisms.
10.30am: I go straight to a client meeting with a partner. I’ve already booked the client in one of our meeting rooms and have made sure our reception staff know they’re due to arrive. This case is significant for the client as it involves high value assets in London and Switzerland. I have already prepared for the meeting the day before, to ensure I have all of the information, documents and advice ready. I make sure that refreshments are available for the meeting. I make notes on every aspect of the case that we discuss, knowing that I will need to make an attendance note for further reference and court. Following the meeting, the partner and I discuss the legal and practical issues and talk about the options which have been given to the client. I’m tasked to research some of the legal points which have come up in the meeting and I check the partner’s deadline to make sure I can organise and prioritise myself accordingly.
12.00pm: Back in the office, I receive a call from reception about a member of the public who has come in to ask about an employment law matter. As the trainee, I am tasked to take the initial enquiry for all such matters so head down with my notepad to meet the potential client. We go into the meeting room and I ask her about the problem she has and the circumstances leading up to us meeting. I make sure that I keenly listen to what she is saying and am conscientious about ensuring I show understanding and empathy to her. The client is very stressed and it is my job to help calm her and be attentive to her needs, as well as to give her legal advice. I also consider what the legal issues are and what options she has going forward. Having that practical and personal touch helps set us apart from other firms, and I take her instructions. I confirm that I will start work on her case and will be sending her correspondence today, so she knows what we’re going to do for her and how we’re going to do it. I give her my direct contact details so she can contact me whenever she needs to.
1.00pm: It’s lunch and I have arranged to catch up with the other trainee solicitors for coffee. It’s great to see what they’re up to and be able to share experiences and ideas in our respective seats. It also gives us some time out just to chat about what we’re getting up to at the weekend. We speak about the upcoming young professionals network social, where we are going out for dinner and drinks with others from different businesses and industries in the area.
2.00pm: I start work on drafting court forms and statements for a case which is going to court. I make sure that I have reviewed the correct procedures and rules from our legal books and databases. I am aware of the deadline for submission so I have diarised to do this today, leaving my supervisor a week to review them. I have scheduled a reminder for my supervisor to review this, so I can talk to him about what I have done and what I could develop.
4.00pm: I have a scheduled review with our Training Principal. We meet frequently over the seats rotations in order to see how I’m getting on in the seat and to review my learning and development. Whilst I always come prepared, knowing that I will need to give good examples of what I have covered so far, it is always a fairly informal meeting to see how I’m doing and raise any questions about my training and the training contract process. We arrange another review for later in the year.
4.30pm: I head back to my office and dictate my meeting notes from the client meeting earlier today. I ensure that I have set up the new matter on our systems and I send out the correspondence to the client as promised. I then go and speak with my supervising partner to discuss a meeting he is going to at our Barnstaple office in the morning. I arrange to go along with him to gain the experience and to catch up with our colleagues there.
5.15pm: I ensure that I have time recorded all of my work today and update my task list for the rest of the week, before logging off. Tonight, I am going to an open evening for a local charity which I raised £500 for earlier in the year. We often take part in various charitable events so it will be good to meet some of the other fundraisers and volunteers and Tweet about it later on!