‘Life as the new girl’


My name is Laura and I’m one of the new trainees in the London office.  I’ve just started my first seat in Employment and I thought I’d give you a short insight into my first few weeks at Pinsent Masons.

After two weeks of induction, training, fun and frivolity in Bedford and the small matter of a Professional Skills Course Finance exam (eek) it was time to join my new department.  In London we currently have three offices (a legacy from past mergers), and unfortunately I was going to be in the smallest of the three and the only new trainee, which meant that I didn’t know anyone in my office.  This will no longer be an issue for future trainees as we move into our lovely brand-new offices at Crown Place early next year, bringing all the London employees all be under one roof:

On my arrival I was given a tour of the building so that I knew which floor to go to and where to make a cup of tea, then I was dropped off at my new office.  Putting on my bravest face I prepared to meet my supervisor… who wasn’t there!  Luckily everyone in the Employment team was really friendly and a few Partners dropped in to introduce themselves.

After a couple of minutes logging on to my PC and setting up my voicemail, the work started to roll in.  Emails were coming in thick and fast asking if I could do various tasks.  For example, on my second day I was asked to welcome delegates to one of our training events, which meant that I got to meet some clients.  I don’t know what your expectations are of being a trainee, but I honestly didn’t expect to be trusted to do that this early on.  Before the end of my first week I’d also attended a client meeting to take witness statements. I finished drafting my first witness statement this morning and I’ve only been with the department for just over a week!

The great thing is that I’ve been given lots of responsibility but I’m allowed to make mistakes, as everything I do is checked by someone more senior before it goes out.  It’s a bit disheartening when your work comes back to you covered in red pen but it’s the best way to learn.  Already I’ve done a mix of work, from instructing Counsel for a hearing to researching legal queries and helping to organise business development events.

It was a little overwhelming at first but I have already come to realise that:

  1. You don’t have to say ‘yes’ to everything.  If you’re genuinely busy people understand;
  2. It is vital to write a list of everything I’m been asked to do, to make sure I don’t forget anything.

I came into my team without ever having studied employment law before, which was quite scary.  Luckily I’ve been given some really helpful training so now I feel like I have a much better understanding.  If I don’t understand something there’s always someone to ask, whether it’s a fellow trainee, one of the Legal PAs (who know everything) or even one of the fee earners.  Things are looking good so far (if a little busy).  I’ll keep you updated.

In the meantime if you have any questions about life as a trainee or you want to test my ever-growing employment law knowledge then please leave me a comment.  I know how tough it can be finding a training contract and I received a lot of good advice along the way so it would be great if I could help some of you out in return!