Rebecca Horton, a first year trainee solicitor at Shoosmiths, shares her experiences and thoughts one month into her training.
I've known since my pre-university days that I wanted to qualify as a solicitor and I went through a longer journey than some to get here. Finally, the day came for me to start and as with almost all trainee solicitors, at the start of your training contract, it feels like it's been a long time coming. Years of hard work, money, endless law books (and in some cases tears); it's easy to build up a specific and idealistic picture in your head of how the next few weeks, months, and years, will pan out for you. I had high expectations having spoken to other colleagues and friends within the firm, and my first month as a trainee solicitor has not disappointed.
I've worked at Shoosmiths for five years now and even having experienced the firm and its values first hand I wasn't able to escape the first day, and week, nerves. However, Shoosmiths really makes the effort to support and immerse everyone into the transition to trainee life. The first week of my training contract saw me and the 21 other trainees, from across all offices, come together for our induction week.
The idea of having an induction week is great; food, drink and fun activities - what's not to love? Above that though, there's an overarching reason why I think this week is so invaluable. Consciously or not, we were bonding and starting to build lasting relationships that will follow many of us, past our years of qualification. These are the people who will be around me, providing support, and vice versa, for at least the next two years. What better way to get to know your future colleagues, and friends, than team building activities such as making fires, team challenges and an afternoon session of hot yoga (some of us were certainly a lot less flexible than others!) The week was also a great opportunity to get an overview of the firm, guidance on what to expect over the next two years and meet lots of friendly faces and gain trainee tips along the way.
Following our induction week, we were all placed in our respective teams and offices - my first seat is within the investment and development real estate team. One of my hopes was to get started on contributing to work that was both valuable to the team and the client from the outset - this was really important to me. I was apprehensive that as a trainee I might be spending my days scanning, printing and paginating documents, but this couldn't be further from reality. On my second day in the team, I attended a client meeting alongside a partner and within the first few weeks I've assisted with two large value client projects, undertaken research, attended training days and tried my hand at drafting underleases. Already, I feel like I've contributed in a positive way and learnt so much, even so early on in my training.
The variety of work I have been undertaking, as well as the support from the team, has been brilliant and this first month has absolutely flown by. Now I'm looking forward to seeing what the remaining months of my first seat have to offer, as well as the seats that follow.