I, Trainee

So, after three years of university and two years of law school, here we are! Our first week at Pinsent Masons… and we know nothing! Perhaps that’s a little misleading. Law school did in fact teach us a lot of legal skills and commercial awareness. However, Law school did not teach us how to use the complicated printer, or how to open up a new client file, or what office protocol is when it comes to “Birthday chocolate in the break-out area.” Alarming you’ll no doubt agree.

Looking back now, with four weeks of hindsight, we can say that the panic, although normal, was unnecessary. You are not expected to automatically know what to do when someone asks you to “engross” a letter that you will no doubt have spent the last two hours meticulously drafting. (FYI that simply means print on pretty letter headed paper and sign it!). But everyone around you is there to help, be it your legal P.A. or a partner.

It’s easy at university, at Law school or even during the hours of inductions to worry about how much will be expected of you as a trainee. It’s something everybody frets over at some point but rest assured and fear not! There is comfort to be found. As we’ve been told by countless solicitors and even partners; as a trainee, you are training on the job and you are not expected to be, in any way, the finished article. The clue is in the title really. Just four weeks later, and we have mastered the printer and are commanders of Voicemail!

Break-out-chocolate-treat etiquette is however, a mystery yet to be unravelled… watch this space!

We’ll be blogging throughout the year on our experiences as a first seat trainee here in Leeds, so it seems sensible to tell you a bit about our background and what brings us here. So in no particular order…

I’m Tom and having read history at Newcastle University I studied both the GDL and LPC at the College of Law in York (which despite the introduction to this blog, is a fine institution!). As student life was all I had known prior to this September, it could have been quite unsettling to suddenly be plunged into the world of work. However having secured my training contract through a vacation placement I did back in 2008 I felt like I already knew the firm well. The thing that stuck out to me on the placement is the thing I like most about my job now: the emphasis that the firm places upon being well rounded and having interests away from the desk. In addition to working for international clients on massive files, I have already been back to my university to promote the firm and have represented the office in the Leeds Premier League 5 aside football competition.

… and I’m Louise. I also converted to law after university, having first done a degree in Drama and Theatre Arts at Birmingham University. I worked for 5 years as a Fraud Investigator in a Banking environment whilst studying the GDL/LPC and couldn’t wait to start at Pinsent Masons at the ripe old age of 27! Having worked before, I knew that an important factor in choosing a firm to train with was the people. After all, if you’re still stuck in the office at silly-o’clock the next morning, you need to like the people you’re with! I was sold on the open and approachable ethos of the firm from day one of my vacation scheme, and am relieved to report that this theme still continues, even when you’re asking where the coffee machine is or where to find an address label! It’s amazing how much responsibility you’re given from day 1, and I feel part of the team already. Here’s to the next 2 years!