A Week in the Life of a Trainee Solicitor
Hi, I'm Ruth and I'm a Trainee Solicitor in the Family Department at Band Hatton Button. One of the things I love most about my job is the variety of work involved, no day is ever the same. Here is an insight in to what a typical working week for a family trainee entails:
As our department generally work from home, I have a degree of flexibility to my working day. This allows me to take my son to school in a morning before I start work. Once I am home, the first thing I do every morning is deal with any outstanding emails. A clear inbox is a clear mind!
I write a daily to-do list so that I know what tasks I need to complete and can prioritise them accordingly. Time management is key as a trainee!
The priority task on my list today was to prepare a bundle for a forthcoming court hearing. A court bundle is a collection of documents relevant to the case, for the court and all parties to refer to. Preparing a bundle takes a significant amount of time and care as it must be indexed, in chronological order, paginated and provided to the court and all parties in advance of the hearing.
Another task on my list today was to instruct counsel (also known as barristers) on behalf of a client. Trainees are frequently required to enquire about counsel's availability and fee estimates for a particular hearing and reserve and brief barristers. Clients often rely on our recommendations for counsel, so it is important to forge a good relationship with clerks and barristers alike.
Every Tuesday morning, our department have a team meeting. For me as a trainee, I find our meetings invaluable as they help me feel supported and connected to my team. We discuss upcoming diary entries, any team holidays, general case updates and we always try to have a catch up and a chat too.
Generally, I am the first point of contact for any new enquiries for family law advice and we are likely to receive new enquiries every day. I speak with potential clients and discuss their needs and explain how we can assist them. As a team, we always try to help people as much as we can, so I often follow up this contact by sending informative guides and resources.
When we are instructed by a new client, I will arrange for a file to be opened for their matter and schedule an initial meeting with one of the partners in our department to discuss next steps. As I assist both of the partners with their matters, I join as many meetings as possible.
At the end of today, I had a remote meeting with my 'career partner'. All lawyers at BHB have their own career partner to act as a mentor. We discussed my achievements so far and what is needed to reach my next goal. Having this strategy in place really provides me with further support in my professional development.
This morning I joined a meeting at our offices with one of my senior colleagues and a new client. I always take a full record of notes and try to soak up as much experience as I can in every meeting. After the meeting, I often draft confirmation of the advice to send to the client, based on the notes I have taken. Meeting with clients helps to develop various skills that I will be required to apply as a qualified solicitor and allows me to get to know them better, and in turn, assist them better.
Once home, I joined an online meeting with my Marketing Committee peers. We meet regularly to discuss all things marketing for the business and it is a great way to keep a connection and share ideas with colleagues in other departments, who I may not otherwise see as regularly.
Today I attended a networking event organised by a local business. I spent time with colleagues and made new professional connections, whilst eating delicious BBQ food and drinking mocktails. BHB encourages and recognises the value of networking and I do have to pinch myself that this is part of my job!
Later in the afternoon, I began to draft a Form E on behalf of a client. A Form E is a financial statement for parties to exchange financial disclosure, usually alongside divorce proceedings. There is a significant amount of information needed to complete a Form E and a vast amount of accompanying documents, so this can take some time to complete. Completing a Form E requires me to make various contact with clients to seek additional information or clarify certain points.
I regularly attend court to support clients and assist counsel and this is by far my favourite part of my job! Today's hearing was a one day final hearing within children's proceedings. I have attended many hearings, ranging from 1 hour to 5 days, dealing with children's, financial and injunction proceedings. Often, our clients are understandably under a great deal of stress when attending court and I try my best to offer support to them at such a vulnerable time. As a trainee solicitor, it is also valuable experience for me to observe and assist counsel and familiarise myself with the court setting.
I hope you have enjoyed reading about my week. For more information on what we do as a department, visit the family pages of our website www.bandhattonbutton.com or call the Family team for initial help with no obligation on 024 7630 9307.