On Monday 2 October 2017 four will become six and Drew will be outnumbered 5:1 (sorry Drew!!) as two new trainees, Olivia and Jennifer, start their traineeship with Jackson Boyd. With Olivia and Jennifer starting it means the current trainees (Drew, Kerri, Rachel and Victoria) will become second year trainees… I’m thinking it’s safe to say we’d all agree the transition from law student to trainee has been less Elle Woods and more Vinny (My Cousin Vinny) type-thing but what have we each thought about the past year?
What seats have you all done over the past 12 months?
Drew: 6 months in Dispute Resolution + 6 months in PI/RTA
Kerri: 6 months in PI/RTA + 6 months in Employment
Rachel: 6 months in Employment + 6 months in Dispute Resolution
Victoria: 12 months in PI/RTA
What has been the most challenging aspect of going from law student to trainee?
Drew: I think you care about the subject more when there are real people involved, and so you put in a lot more effort than you did when you were a student.
Kerri: Saying goodbye to 4 month summers!
Rachel: Getting to grips with the massive gap between “the law” you learn whilst studying and “the law” you do in practice
Victoria: Everyone hated that 9am lecture and now its 9am lecture x 5!
What is one piece of advice you’d give to yourself if you could go back to day 1?
Drew: Always dry your hands when you leave a bathroom on your first day – otherwise you’re shaking people’s hands wet when you meet them, which is a weird first impression to make!
Kerri: I would say don’t worry about what you can remember from university or what you have learned from work experience – this is an entirely new experience and nothing can really prepare you for life as a trainee. You will just learn as you go!
Rachel: Don’t shake Drew’s hand….
Victoria: Don’t be too hard on yourself, as a trainee you’re not expected to know everything. Be upfront about the mistakes you make, as you’re expected to make them (and will) – we were told the most important thing is how we fix them, which means speaking up.
What has been your best experience?
Drew: Winning my first court appearance and coming back to the firm – everyone was so happy for me, and I felt really satisfied with and proud of my work.
Kerri: Appearing in court and conducting my first proof.
Rachel: Settling my first case with expenses.
Victoria: Winning my first proof, it’s cliché but it’s true!
What has been your biggest challenge to overcome?
Drew: Participating in the Bushtukka Trial – I don’t know what bugs I ate for charity, and I never want to learn.
Kerri: The seat changes are one of the best experiences but also the biggest challenges of a traineeship. I think it’s important to ask as many questions as you can at the start of every new seat in order to make the most of your time there. 6 months flies in and before you know it, it’s time to move again!
Rachel: Accepting you never get EVERYTHING done…learning how to prioritise is key.
Victoria: As a trainee it can be hard to hold your own when you’re trying to negotiate with more senior solicitors on the other side. I think it’s important to remember everyone starts somewhere and you have as much right to an opinion as they do.
What are you looking forward to most going into your second year?
Drew: I’m looking forward to having new first year trainees in the team, and more varied work load and responsibility.
Kerri: I will be moving into my new seat as a dispute resolution trainee, so I’m looking forward to learning about a whole new area of law and facing new challenges as I go (with my gown in hand).
Rachel: My first court appearance.
Victoria: I’d be lying if I didn’t say the thing that excites me most is finally being able to wear a gown in court (it’s a big deal, trust me).
What has surprised you, if anything, about life as a trainee at Jackson Boyd?
Drew: The camaraderie between trainees and solicitors – they understand the pressures, and they have been a big help. That, and that it is nothing like Suits or The Good Wife.
Kerri: You hear a lot of stories before starting your traineeship about what it will be like but the most surprising part to me has been how much I have enjoyed it and how happy everyone has been to offer advice or answer questions where they can. The trainees at Jackson Boyd are very much part of the team and I’m looking forward to another year!
Rachel: I’m surprised as how much I’ve enjoyed handling a case load of my own. Even though it’s been challenging I’ve been being pushed out my comfort zone in to the world of litigation and it’s been exciting to learn on the job.
Victoria: The openness and approachability of everyone – you can easily approach colleagues and they’re happy to help. That, and the fact there’s been hardly any photocopying (bonus!).