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Tales of a Trainee Solicitor

I am approaching the halfway point in my second seat and I don’t quite know where the last nine months have gone. On the one hand the time has flown by, yet I also feel like I’ve been at Lanyon Bowdler forever (in a good way!).

I spent my first seat in the clinical negligence department. I remember my first day vividly, overwhelmed with nerves and a firm belief that I would never master the computer software despite the extensive training. Luckily everyone was so welcoming and happy to offer help and guidance that it made the transition from student to trainee so much easier. I learnt more than I could have imagined during those first six months; I was able to attend conferences with Counsel and medical experts, accompany my supervisor to client meetings and I attended an inquest. I would even like to consider myself a dab hand with the computer software now, although it is an ongoing battle with the scanner/fax/photocopy machine…

In March I moved to my second and current seat in personal injury. The first two months have certainly felt like a baptism of fire but I wouldn’t have changed a moment of it. So far I’ve attended a Case Management Conference, a contested application to put further questions to experts following a joint report, a Joint Settlement Meeting and most recently a trial at the Royal Courts of Justice to determine a preliminary issue of contributory negligence. Attending the trial was a fascinating experience; I watched witnesses and experts give evidence before being cross-examined by eloquent QCs, whilst taking notes. Despite the writer’s cramp by the end of the day I couldn’t complain; the Judge wanted the closing speeches brought forward to the following day, giving Counsel less than twenty four hours to get them finalised! The value of these first-hand experiences is immeasurable; it enriches the training and provides you with a much more thorough understanding of the work involved.

A common theme throughout my training contract has been the nature of the work you are asked to do; you are given the responsibility of assisting with “real” work, whether it is preparing a note to Counsel, drafting a letter of instruction to an expert or researching authorities and case law. This provides confidence that at the end of the training contract I will be fully prepared for life as a qualified solicitor.