A day in the life of a Trainee Solicitor
* Firstly, let me caveat this post by saying that there is no one set day in the life of a trainee, as things are always evolving! However, hopefully this gives a snapshot into some of what you can expect when you become a trainee. *
8.30am – Start work. Check my emails, look at what has come in over night and what was left from yesterday to file. A particularly animated litigant in person has sent six emails overnight, two of which have also been sent to the court, which backtrack on his position that he set out yesterday, which in turn contradicted the position he had at the hearing last week.
9.00am – Begin working on instructions to counsel on a new matter we have taken on. The parties include two litigants in person, and there has been a vast amount of correspondence to sum up at this very early stage. Additionally, there appears to be various interested parties all of whom have filed a number of witness statements. This could take a while, but will make for some interesting reading.
10.30am – Head over to our other office with today’s post and DX for the solicitors there. I am moving to the Family Department soon, so catch up with the solicitors to find out what new cases we have and what will likely be transferred to me when I move.
10.45am – Coffee needed. Head to a popular high street coffee store on the corner of our road. I have slowly graduated from all-sugar-and-milk vanilla lattes to flat whites and I still feel pretty smug about it.
11.00am – A flurry of emails have come in whilst I have been away from my desk. One of my client’s has sadly passed away in the middle of Court of Protection proceedings. The family members involved do not get along, and everyone is both angry and upset. I spend the next half an hour fielding tearful phone calls from family and friends of our client demanding to know how this could have happened.
12.00pm – We have training this afternoon so I take an early lunch break to make sure I have time to get a few more tasks done beforehand.
12.30pm – Back at my desk and considering the comments a client has made on a letter I have drafted. The client is looking for additional support from the local authority for her child who has severe behavioural difficulties and additional learning needs. The client has three other children at home, two of which are showing signs of also having learning needs. The letter sets out a detailed overview of the ways in which she requires more support, and the harmful effect the current care package is having on her family life.
1.30pm – Changes made, I send the letter back to the client to check she is happy with it before it goes out to the local authority. File some more emails which have come in and check to see if there is anything urgent that needs doing.
2.00pm – We are instructed on behalf of another new client, who is Ward of the Court in Ireland and is placed in a psychiatric hospital in the UK. There is a tight turn around for the documents to be looked at as my supervisor needs to go and meet with her this week ahead of a court review. I go about setting up the file and considering all the documents, preparing a detailed attendance note for the solicitor with conduct of the file. There is a lot to get through, with some very detailed medical reports included in the information provided. Several cups of tea are made to assist along the way.
4.00pm – Training in the Court of Protection department with one of my peers. A rota has been set up for each member of the team (Directors and Paralegals alike) to research a topic and provide a training session on it every other week. We decided the topics as a team with everyone identifying aspects of this area of law they either struggled with or were particularly interested in. This week: What to do when P lacks capacity to make decisions about contact, but has capacity to consent to sex. Never a dull moment.
5.00pm – Finish training by discussing our own cases within the department and how the case law affects our clients. Times like this I understand why we get given thousands of cases to learn and remember on the GDL and LPC as part of our studies (which I was pretty irritated by at the time). Case law is quite important.
6.00pm – Spend the rest of the day following up on any tasks arising from emails that day and making a to do list for tomorrow. I have been informed that next week I will be attending a hearing and visiting two clients in Northampton, so making sure those are all recorded too. I have never been much of a diary user before but it has now become my bible/road map to my life. I think this is what’s known as being a grown up. Head home via a food shop to pick up some ingredients to bake for a charity fundraiser work has organised tomorrow. Not that I’m competitive, but I’m very aware of my colleague’s take on carrot cake that wowed everyone last time. What would Mary Berry do?