Life of a Trainee Solicitor at Lanyon Bowdler

Despite the fact it only seems like yesterday that I was entering, with dread, the conference room at Telford for a final grilling from Garry Richards, John Merry & Lisa Grimmett to gain a position as a trainee at LB, I am now entering my fourth and final seat.  This worries me for two reasons first, I cannot believe how quickly time has passed and second and by far the most  worrying, I am due to qualify as a solicitor in a little over 6 months time!!!

My journey started in the Personal Injury department where I had a fascinating insight into the world of a PI lawyer.  Luckily I timed it just right as there was a lot of activity on a number of ‘big’ cases during my 6 months.  I went to a trial, a three day inquest, a couple of settlement meetings, numerous conferences with Counsel in particular one with a very eloquent QC and a contested costs hearing which showed me the importance of accurate time recording and attendance notes.  I also learnt how to use apostrophes properly and believe I am a dab hand now!

I spent my second seat in the Private Client department.  This was a seat that I had always wanted to do and so was really looking forward to it – and it did not disappoint!  I was given tasks such as drafting Wills & Trust documents and updating Trust accounts.  I also had a crash course in using Excel spreadsheets and since I am a bit of a technophobe this was a challenge.  After many assurances that I couldn’t delete/ruin/re-write the precedents that had been carefully created I think I learnt to embrace them with less trepidation than I started with, I even use them for my hockey accounts now! 

For my third seat I chose Property.  I became suspicious a week before I was due to start when people came up to me saying, apropos of nothing, “don’t worry, you’ll be fine, sometimes getting thrown in at the deep end is a good thing!”.  What could this mean, I wondered?  A week later, I found out!  I can certainly say my first two months in property, more specifically residential property, were a baptism of fire!  However what I can also say is the responsibility of ensuring the sale and purchase of someone’s home went through smoothly was a career-enhancing experience.  It was somewhat of a relief though to hear after two months that I would be moving to the Commercial and General property department, dealing with plot sales three days a week and assisting on other matters the remaining two.  Despite my initial thoughts that I was not going to enjoy property, this has been my favourite seat so far and I have decided it is the area of law that I would like to qualify into – not such great timing given the economic situation at present I know!

Being a trainee at LB has lived up to all my expectations (and more, I didn’t know it was a pre-requisite that LB trainees must sign up to the LB netball team!) – it really is a great place to undertake your legal training.  I have found everyone to be approachable and helpful and am impressed at the level of expertise and attention to detail that all the Partners I’ve trained with demonstrate, it really is something to aspire to in the future.  Trainees are given ‘proper’ work to do and real responsibility so we get to know what it truly is like to be a solicitor meaning I will be fully equipped to qualify in September.  Although my current supervising Partner did exclaim the other afternoon “trainees are not what they used to be!” on seeing my attempt at photocopying an extract of a rather large Land Registry plan which ended up as a tiny plan crammed  into the top left hand corner of the page!  Better brush up on my photocopying skills before I get admitted to the roll!

So, the fact that the past couple of years have flown by is perhaps a true indication of what it is like to be a trainee at LB, after all as the saying goes ‘time flies when you’re having fun’!