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Top tips for future trainee solicitors

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Posted by Miles Hattersley on 27th April 2022

General

Having started my training contract in January 2022, I have now completed my first seat in Wolferstans’ Residential Property team (‘Resi’) and now am joining the Commercial Property team. If I could give five top tips to future trainee solicitors ahead of their first seat, they would be:

Keep an open mind

Having struggled with land law-based modules at university, I was apprehensive about starting my training contract within a property-based area such as Resi. However, I have really enjoyed my first seat and will be sad to leave! So, keep an open mind about different practice areas as you may end up enjoying a seat much more than you think. An area of law that you may have found tedious to study may be brought to life in practice where you can view the area in a practical context.

View each seat as an opportunity

As each department is different, it’s important to think about the unique skills each seat can help you develop and take forward in your career as a lawyer. Resi is a great seat to develop communication skills as it’s so client facing. You need to work collaboratively with clients at every step to be able to understand what their concerns and best interests are. A seat in Resi will also force you to become very organised as you can expect to work on up to 30 matters in any one day!

Work on your weaknesses but also embrace who you are

Working on your weaknesses and pushing yourself outside your comfort zone to grow is undoubtedly important during your training contract. However, identifying and valuing your natural strengths is equally important. As a trainee, I have been able to work alongside numerous successful lawyers who each have their own working style and approach. There is no ‘correct’ way of being a lawyer so use your unique strengths and experiences to your advantage!

Accept that you will make mistakes

It’s inevitable that you will make some mistakes while learning as a trainee. My supervisor said as much when she reassuringly told me she expects her trainees to make mistakes. I personally found that taking responsibility for and rectifying a mistake can help to build confidence as a trainee.

Don’t hesitate to ask questions

Whilst part of being a trainee involves conducting research to find the answers to questions yourself, the experienced colleagues around you are an invaluable resource and you can never ask too many questions. I have always found my colleagues to be passionate about their work and so happy to share their views and experience. I would also recommend asking questions as they can often spark really useful longer conversations.  

If you would like to read about the opportunities available at Wolferstans, please visit our Training Opportunities page.