By Franzi Poxon
Top tips for making the most of your training contract
I am currently in the second year of my training contract at Else Solicitors. My time as a trainee has been both rewarding and challenging. It’s certainly been an insightful journey. There are a few things I have learnt along the way which I think would be useful to anyone who is about to embark on their legal training contract.
1. Familiarise yourself with the firm and observe different peoples ways of working
During your training contract you will have the opportunity to work alongside different solicitors within the firm. Your colleagues all have a wealth of experience that they are willing to share with you, make the most of the chance to absorb this knowledge. Observing your colleagues will enable you to develop your own style supported by these professionals. Your supervisor is there to support you along side all the other team members. Working collaboratively gives you the most valuable experience possible. Teamwork is the key to success in making the most out of your training contract.
2. Embrace every opportunity to learn
Never be afraid to ask questions! Your supervisors will know they can trust you if you acknowledge your limitations and show your willingness to learn by asking questions. Embrace each new task as a learning opportunity and seek help when you need it, as this will help develop your understanding. A task is much easier when you understand the rationale behind it. If a new matter comes into the department that you would like to be involved in, ask your supervisor if you can assist as you might not otherwise get the chance again during your training. Your supervisor may also appreciate the assistance with their caseload.
3. Get involved in networking opportunities
Networking will help you develop many transferable skills, such as your communication skills and confidence. Having an armoury of professional connections and contacts will help you throughout your career. Make as many as you can from the offset. There are many different networking events that will be made available to you and they can be really fun. During my time at Else Solicitors, I have been to many different networking events, such as a charity football event, quizzes, Professional Network Lunches to name a few.
Top tip: If you feel that the opportunities to network as a trainee are limited – specifically ask if you can attend certain events OR if you want to really impress, request to start your own networking group!
4. Seek feedback during your training contract
Encourage and embrace feedback from your supervisor and colleagues. Constructive feedback is an asset and allows you to become more self-aware of areas you may have otherwise left undeveloped. Learning is a lifelong experience and you will continually be able to hone your skills using the feedback of others.
5. Transition into a new seat
Making the transition into a new seat can be daunting when you have just begun to develop your confidence in your last seat. Enter into each seat with an open mind, every move offers a new learning opportunity and like a jigsaw all the pieces of the puzzle will begin to fit together and you will be able to see the bigger picture. Each seat will offer many transferable skills for your future career which ever area you decide to specialise in.
Finally, make the most of every opportunity you have during your training contract, this will help your development and growth.