‘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:
- You don’t have to say ‘yes’ to everything. If you’re genuinely busy people understand;
- 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!