I received my offer of a traineeship on the 1 September 2017 and throughout the month of September Jackson Boyd’s HR team was on hand to answer all of my questions. It’s always a daunting experience to start in a new environment and it was helpful to have a contact in HR to guide me through the interview process and then onto my new position as a trainee solicitor.
As I walked in on my first day, there were so many questions running through my head. What department will I be working in? Who are my work colleagues? Who will be my supervisor? Will we get along? What are the other trainees like? Will I understand the IT?
From the first moment I stepped into the office, all those worries faded away. I was provided with a Training Folder and spent the day learning about the IT systems with different members of the Jackson Boyd team. Everyone was really encouraging and no question was a silly question. I was introduced to all the different departments and was welcomed by the partners and those who met me during the interview stages. Overall it was a really friendly atmosphere which helped to dispel those first day nerves.
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On my first day I was invited to a lunch with the trainees. There are now six trainees at Jackson Boyd, four of which are second years. The trainee lunch was a great opportunity to discuss first day nerves with those who had experienced their first day only one year previous. Each of the trainees shared their experience of their first day as a trainee. We discussed their different experiences throughout the past year and also discussed their development. Having spent two months at the firm, the trainees have been a massive support. They have told me where to find all sorts of information such as counsel’s papers, medical records and pointed me in the direction of research resources. In addition, the second year trainees have been really helpful whenever I have needed to bounce off ideas regarding Personal Injury cases.
At Jackson Boyd, trainees move around three seats: Personal Injury, Employment and Dispute Resolution. For my first seat, I have been placed in the Employer’s Liability and Public Liability team (The EL/PL team). I work within a team of six people, who are all on hand to help me with different aspects of a claim. All of my team are very approachable, openly ask if I have any questions and talk me through the different tasks so that I obtain the correct information for them. You are never made to feel like a nuisance. Throughout my first two months, my supervisor has been on hand to ensure I have a manageable workload and to provide advice where needed.
For anyone interested in pursuing a career at Jackson Boyd, my one piece of advice would be that you are not expected to know the law before you start your seat. I was contemplating pouring over books when I found out my first seat was in Personal Injury. Before starting my traineeship, my knowledge of Personal Injury Claims was limited. However, after speaking with the trainees, they assured me that I would gain knowledge during my seat and that is exactly what has happened. Knowing of the law is invaluable but at Jackson Boyd there is a clear focus at Jackson Boyd on training. The EL/PL team have been really helpful in building up my knowledge. They have let me gain experience of what to do at the beginning of a claim and have got me involved in intimating claims on Defenders and ingathering evidence such as taking precognitions, taking services statements and making freedom of information requests. I then moved on to look at Medical Reports and prepared valuations and I am now looking at raising claims in Court and preparing court documents.
At Jackson Boyd there is a real focus on training and development. I have been involved in several training sessions each month. As a trainee, I am invited to all of the training sessions for the different seats at Jackson Boyd. This has provided me with the opportunity to start learning about the different departments before I then move into that seat further down the line in my traineeship. I also spend my time dealing with challenging research tasks. The other trainees and solicitors have proven to be invaluable in pointing me in the right direction. My advice would always be to try and do the work yourself first but if you are stuck, then the best way to move forward is to ask questions and more questions until you find what you are looking for. The staff at Jackson Boyd have a wealth of experience and chances are they have probably seen a similar case.
A major concern prior to starting at the firm was time management. My previous experience of time recording was not as strict as having to account for every 6 minutes of my day. I remember thinking how could I possibly account for every 6 minutes of a 7 hour day? Having been here for two months however, I seem to be getting the hang of time management. Inevitably there are distractions but so long as you keep updating your time throughout the day, it becomes a lot more manageable. The key is to develop your own system of time recording and to make sure you don’t forget to update your time sheet at the end of every task.
Overall, I’ve had a really enjoyable two months at the firm. Everyone is really friendly and there have been a couple of social events where I could meet the other employees at Jackson Boyd. Having completed my first two months at the firm, I am looking forward to what the next two years have in store for me!