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Miller Samuel Hill Brown Solicitors Blog

From time to time we will post news articles and announcements relating to the firm and to various legal issues that may be of interest to you.

National Careers Week: Traineeship ‘Seat’ Rotation and a Day in the Life of a Trainee at MSHB

National Careers Week

National Careers Week runs from 6th to 11th March this year making now a perfect time to reflect on life as a trainee solicitor. While I and my fellow trainees across the profession are only starting out in what we all hope to be long and successful careers, there is an underlying sense that these two years are an indispensable opportunity to learn as much as possible before being released into the big bad world as qualified solicitor.

Day in the Life 2 Copy 350x500In my experience, one of the most exciting, yet daunting, aspects of being a trainee at a firm with multiple practice areas is when the time comes to move department – a process commonly known as moving ‘seat’. Seat rotation can occur multiple times within a traineeship but the discussions as to who is going to be moving where are constant amongst us trainees. Just as you begin to feel that you are getting the hang of one department, it is time for pastures new and back to googling ‘what is a…’. That being said, seat rotation provides an amazing opportunity to acquire a broad knowledge and skill base, which I will undoubtedly be grateful for further down the line. It has also allowed me build connections with colleagues across my firm and highlighted which areas of law are of most interest to me.

Day in the Life 3 350x500

I am now in my final seat with the Civil Litigation/Family Law department at MSHB, having moved here from Residential Property in December and Commercial Property before that. The contrast between the Litigation/Family and Residential Property, as you may imagine, is fairly significant. I really enjoyed my time in Residential Property and property law is definitely an area of interest for me. I found that I gained a deep but narrow scope of knowledge in ‘Resi’ and transactions comfortingly followed a common pattern, meaning my days tended to go to plan on the most part. Litigation/Family, however, I have found to be somewhat more dynamic due to the contentious nature of the matters being dealt with. I’ve learned important skills in terms of prioritising tasks and reacting to the unexpected - I think my colleagues in the department would attest to this! Our Litigation department deals with a broad range of matters (including commercial disputes, personal injury and property disputes to name a few) and it took me time to adjust to engaging with various areas of law on a given day. While challenging, my general understanding of ‘the law’ has grown significantly. I think it is also very helpful to have a general understanding of court process and at the end of the day being in court is what everyone thinks of when you tell them you are a ‘Lawyer’.

There are a few pertinent points that have stood out to me since my latest seat rotation. The first, particularly in a Litigation context, is that the focus is more often on dispute resolution and optimising client outcomes relative to costs etc, as opposed to ‘going to battle’ per say. From a Family perspective, it is crucial to manage client’s expectations and feelings given the extremely sensitive nature of the work. Communication has to be well considered and timely.

So, what does an average day look like for me as a Litigation/Family trainee at MSHB?: Day in the Life 1 500x333

  • 6.30am (ish) - Wake up and head to the gym before work (hopefully).
  • 8.30am (ish) - Arrive at the office, grab a coffee, have some breakfast and catch up on emails that have come in overnight.
  • 9am - Set an agenda for the day. As I mentioned previously, this can go out of the window at times!
  • 9.05am – Time to get stuck into some substantive tasks, including: drafting court documentation, providing advice to clients under supervision, corresponding with other solicitors, attending and notetaking on meetings/court hearings, drafting letters and general research. I find I am most productive in the morning so I like to get in and get on with things.
  • 10.30 am (ish) – Around this time we have often have a team meeting/discussion regarding workloads and I am usually delegated some tasks by David, Anna, Gabrielle, Siobhan and Diane.
  • 12.45pm to 2pm - Sainsbury’s meal deal most likely (other meal deals are available) and, weather permitting, a short walk for some fresh air.
  • 2pm to 5.30/6pm – Hopefully by now I’ve made good headway on what I had planned for the day and the tasks I’ve been delegated. What time I leave the office will depend on how busy I am, deadlines, my brain capacity on a given day and what I have planned in the evening.
  • 6.30pm (ish) – Arrive home, cook some dinner and relax. Maybe drag myself to the gym if I didn’t manage in the morning!
  • 10.30pm (ish) – Time for bed and ready to do it all again.

Of course, days where I am required to attend court differ significantly. I won’t bore you with a full description of these days but some top tips that has been bestowed upon me with regards to attending court are as follows:

  • Scope out transport/parking well in advance and have contingency plan;
  • Clients will often never have been in court – keep them informed and engaged in the process as much as possible;
  • Be nice to those working in the court, you never know when you may need their assistance.

Dru Nicholson Family Law Litigation

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