Trainee Corner: Nine months in
I am nine months into my 18 month training contract at GA Solicitors. My first seat was in the employment department which I really enjoyed. I chose employment as an elective on the LPC and on the application process for this job, chose to write about worker status in light of the Uber case. GA noted that I had a clear interest in employment and decided it would be an appropriate first seat and they were right!
I am currently in my second seat. We had a meeting and chatted about the seats available to me and what my goals were for my training contract. As I had 18 months experience as a civil litigation paralegal, I was tempted to choose dispute resolution. However, after discussing the seat options with colleagues I followed their advice about making the most of my training contract and I decided to try something completely new and out of my comfort zone – commercial property. I have been in this seat for more than three months and I have found the work very interesting, especially the development and farming elements.
My third and final seat will be in personal injury and clinical negligence. I have some base knowledge in this field as it was part of my LPC, which I am really looking forward to expanding. James Walsh also specialises in asbestos and I am looking forward to assisting him and his clients in such a niche sector.
At GA Solicitors, trainees are not given targets and are instead encouraged to really research and read around their tasks, rather than worrying about their billable time.
Trainees are also given the opportunity to attend marketing events which are crucial to expanding your network. Apart from the legal advice part of the job, it’s important to know the sector you are working in and expand your contacts. You’ll find you’ll have to work with accountants, barristers, surveyors and other types of professional services to fulfil your clients’ needs, and networking events (even though they can be nerve-wracking at first) are the best place to expand your social reach.
One of the things that I love about GA is that they really try to make their staff feel valued. This is shown by the range of staff benefits they offer. They also respect the need for a good work/life balance for all employees. I am undertaking my training contract a bit later in life and I have four children. I do not often need to work past 5pm so I get to spend the evenings with my husband and children.
My one word of advice is to go into your training contract with an open mind, you may just be surprised with what you actually enjoy. Make the most of the one time in your life when you get to swap and choose your options.
Kayleigh Arthurs, trainee