Life as a Trainee Solicitor

By Lakhvir Singh

Every Lawyer will agree, the best news you will ever hear as Paralegal or LLB Graduate is finding out you’ve acquired a Training Contract. I still find myself in jubilation as I’m writing about my experiences during my first seat as Trainee Solicitor in the Commercial Property department here at Else.

My first seat has been with the Commercial Property team which is the same department I joined Else as a Paralegal. This has been a great way to ease into my Training Contract as I find myself confident with this area of Practice. Many Trainees will start their training having never practiced law before, let alone in an area of law that they have already become familiar with. It has also helped that I knew my team/colleagues prior to starting my seat. Knowing that I would be training under the supervision of some amazing people and great lawyers really got me both excited and motivated to start.

Still, no-one can be sure of what life will be like once the training actually begins and so I ensured I researched as much as possible, making use of former Else trainee blogs, giving me a real insight into what to expect as a trainee at Else.

Starting the new year in my first trainee seat actually hit me when I sent my first email and noticed that my email signature now reads ‘Trainee Solicitor’. This was another highlight as my achievement finally felt like reality. Much of the differences I have noticed since transitioning into my new role have come with the increased responsibility of fulfilling the client’s instructions. As a paralegal, normally when faced with a challenging matter, I would turn around and ask my supervisor for assistance on the best course of action. Whereas now, I have been entrusted with first understanding the problem, finding the best solution and drafting my own advice to the client, then taking these proposals to my supervisor and progressing the matter myself.

Coming to the end of my first seat I am preparing to join the Litigation team. Having very little experience in this area of Law, I am very excited for what I can learn and also, what skills I am able to offer. Who knows, I may find that my true calling is with Litigation. A Training Contract provides the opportunity to practice several areas of the Law, and allows trainees to decide where we would be best suited and more importantly intend on practicing for the rest of our working life.

The requirement of the SRA to keep a training record has been great as it allows me to reflect on what I have learnt and then discuss with my supervisor if there are any other matters which I feel I would benefit from dealing with. Fortunately for me I have had a very diverse bundle of matters to deal with, from a standard Lease to the purchase of a Freehold Property, where the seller has lost the deeds.

As I prepare for my next seat, my advice to anyone who is starting their training contract is to realise that you’re not expected to know all the answers. This is a time to ‘train’ hence the name Training Contract. I make sure I take time to use platforms such as Practical Law and Lexis to read up on articles and other guidance which have helped strengthen my drafting and client advice skills.

Furthermore, do not be afraid to ask questions. I have been very fortunate to work in a team where we have an ‘open door’ policy so I can literally ask any question no matter how silly it may sound in my head and the response has always been positive and helpful.

Thank you for reading.

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