Pardeep, a second year trainee solicitor, shares her top tips on making the most of your time as a trainee solicitor.
Getting a training contract is hard work! You have studied for years, compromised on your social life, endured countless hurdles and obstacles (and most likely rejections!) to get to where you are today but you've made it! You are where you have worked hard to be and in the firm you want to be in.
How do you make the most of your two year training contract to develop as much as you can and show your supervisors and colleagues just how enthusiastic you are? Here are some of my top tips.
1. A great attitude - This is one of the most important qualities to hold during your working life and especially during your training contract. No matter which seat you are in and whether you think you want to qualify into that seat or not, being accessible and showing enthusiasm and interest in the work given to you is vital. Each piece of work is a chance to develop a skill that you may not have or to enhance a skill you already possess. Showing supervisors and colleagues that you are happy to take on any work helps build their trust in you as a trainee and creates opportunity for future work.
2. Be proactive and think about the work you are given - think about the work you have been given and its wider context. Is there anything you can do to forward the matter and make life easier for your supervisor? Can you make proposals beyond your specific instructions? This is not always easy when you are not aware of the background but if possible, ask questions and show an interest in the broader context of a matter beyond your task. Take ownership and do more than you have been asked instead of waiting to be told what to do next.
3. Be a team player - do not wait to be approached by members of your team for work. Show that you are a team player and offer assistance to colleagues, especially when they seem busy and the task may not be particularly glamorous. Treat each colleague as your client by being professional, prompt and responsive, going the extra mile where possible. This will help you develop your personal brand and a positive reputation around the firm for having a great work ethic.
4. Produce high quality work - this may seem very obvious but when you have 20 things on your to do list (that all needed doing yesterday!) it is very easy to make avoidable mistakes. Pay attention to detail and proof read every piece of work you produce. Where particularly complicated, try to come back to the work a day later so that you can read it with a fresh pair of eyes. The number of mistakes you do not pick up when you have been looking at the same piece of work for hours is shocking! Where possible, seek opportunities to project manage tasks and seek to develop skills you are weak in.
5. Get involved - Get involved with the firm's broader activities including social and charity committees and help organise social events. This will enable you to meet and interact with people you make not have the opportunity to work with and give you the opportunity to build your personal brand around the firm.
The most important thing to remember is to enjoy your experience. During your two years as a trainee solicitor, you are able to shape your future, work on developing your true potential and creating long lasting relationships. Get the job done, learn as much as possible, act naturally and most importantly, be yourself!