Trainee Corner: Theory into practice
I am now 14 months into my training contract at GA. Many things are just as I imagined – a busy law firm, lots of activity, lots of people and a lot to get my head around!
Some things though have been very different – like my preconceptions of what area of law I wanted to work in based on my studies.
While at university I was very sure I wanted to work in company commercial. I scored highly in this area and thought this was undoubtedly best suited to my personality. Working with businesses sounded interesting and I liked the idea of having longstanding repeat clients.
With this in mind, my first 12 months were spent in the commercial department. As expected I really enjoyed it. There was such a variety of work (one day it would be a shareholders agreement and the next an exciting acquisition) and I enjoyed building up a rapport with the clients. It also very much improved my understanding of how a business is run and what needs to be considered.
When my 12 months drew to an end and I was moved across to the family team I wasn’t sure what to expect. There are few departments as contrasting as commercial and family law!
Two months in and…. I love it! Every case is so unique and going to court so frequently has been incredibly interesting. Whenever the phone rings you are not quite sure who is on the other side and what they will be going to tell you.
It’s not all roses of course. It is an incredibly emotional department with some clients having gone through domestic abuse or seen abuse of others. Their individual cases are, to them, completely life-changing and so there are often tears. Sometimes you just need to listen.
My advice to students looking for a training contract is not to have any preconceptions about what you do and do not want to do. You may find yourself very surprised! Take advantage of your training contract and experience as many seats as possible.
Rebecca Jones, trainee solicitor