A Day in the Life of a Trainee Solicitor
A Day in the Life of a Trainee Solicitor
By Baden Broadbent – Business Services Department
I discovered my passion for Law while studying Criminology at the University of Plymouth. I didn’t select Law as my main discipline, so I had to complete a conversion course, more commonly known as the Graduate Diploma of Law, or GDL. Following this, I completed my LPC/LLM at the University of Law, Exeter University Campus.
During my first seat (in the family department), I would normally start the morning frantically ensuring that appropriate arrangements were in place for the upcoming hearings or speaking with concerned clients.
I am now in the Business Services team which fortunately offers a slower pace and means I can delegate more time to admin tasks. I have recently got into the habit of spending the first 30 minutes completing my training logs.
I find that training logs are a useful tool for recording my progress and reviewing, in detail, the skills I’m developing in my capacity as a trainee solicitor.
I suspect that others in my position may have a different experience but during my day I find it necessary to wear many hats to meet the needs of Woollcombe Yonge and my clients.
To this end, my first hat is normally that of being a friendly face, or friendly voice/presence at the end of the telephone/email thread, to receive and assess potential client enquiries.
One thing I have learnt in the task of communicating with new client enquiries is managing the expectations of potential clients can sometimes be a more difficult task than managing the expectations of existing clients as you are completely new to each other.
The ‘just before lunch’ rush
I have been tasked with assisting clients that have experienced difficulties in the aftermath of their respective residential conveyances as the Business Services team often work closely with the Residential Property Department.
The task of providing this assistance has fallen to me and involves a great deal of extensive file research to first understand the issue and legal research to signpost the client in the right direction.
While we cannot provide on-going support in respect of small claims, it’s important that previous clients do not feel that they have been abandoned.
For this reason, once I have appropriately reviewed the file, I move on to the task of liaising with the client via email/telephone to give our recommendations.
Plymouth sadly has a great deal of choice when it comes to lunchtime options and I will often fall prey to the falafel man, at the bottom of town, or the adjacent sandwich shop. We are lucky to live in such a stunning location right on the Barbican, which means staff often venture outside for lunch to enjoy a bit of sunshine or a walk up to Plymouth Hoe.
The afternoon shift
My supervisor has tasked me with attending a client meeting to assist counsel. My role in the meeting is to observe and take notes. The meeting tests my listening/typing skills to the limit as the several participants all wish to contribute and have their legal questions answered.
As the newcomer to the client’s matter, I must quickly build a rapport as I frequently ask the other participants to clarify or repeat their statements to ensure that their replies are accurately recorded.
Following the meeting, I am tasked with drafting a without prejudice letter to the other side. To assist the client and avoid costly litigation, I must ensure that the letter is drafted appropriately by addressing all relevant points and clearly conveying our client’s position.
The final hour
To finish the day, I am initially tasked with contacting a debtor on behalf of our client.
To complicate matters, the debtor is not represented so I must adopt a very careful approach to ensure that I am acting in our client’s best interests without taking unfair advantage of an individual who is not represented.
With the above call successfully concluded I move to make a start on another more complicated legal research task. The task in question involves two parties in dispute over the installation of external insulation cladding.
To my dismay, I am unable to convince my colleagues that the testing criteria for external cladding is in fact an interesting topic but that did not diminish my enjoyment learning about the subject matter and subsequently drafting a summary of our client’s legal position, for my supervisor.
I’ve only been a trainee solicitor for a few months but I’ve already had the opportunity and privilege to work beside many talented colleagues and it is incredibly rewarding to feel yourself improve and begin to meet the expected professional standards.
"As a family we found the service provided to us was delivered with ’empathy’ and was in fact ‘outstanding’, we would most certainly recommend Woollcombe Yonge to friends.”