I joined Jackson Boyd as a trainee solicitor back in October 2018, after my previous life in marketing. Back in 2014 when I made the decision to go back to university and study law, I always knew the point would come where I would need to finally make the transition from my old career to the legal profession in earnest. I can’t pretend there wasn’t anxiety about the change, simply because I was aware that I was moving into a new role where I would be learning from the ground up.
Luckily for me, Jackson Boyd has been a great place for me to undertake my traineeship. In my 12 months with the firm I have worked in the dispute resolution and personal injury departments and, despite their proximity, both teams are different in how they operate and the types of cases they handle. This has had extensive benefits to me as I have had to adapt, learn varied internal processes and complete different tasks for supervisors and colleagues. All this variety ultimately means more exposure to interesting and challenging work.
The highlight of the last year has been running a Simple Procedure Evidential Hearing. Prior to my first appearance, I shadowed several colleagues and travelled with them to their proofs. In both seats I had the opportunity to appear at other hearings, such as case management discussions. When I knew the Hearing was going ahead I felt ready to handle it because of the support and experience of my colleagues. It was a particular highlight given that in 2014 it had been my ambition to qualify as a court lawyer. It was even more of a highlight as I was successful in court!
Jackson Boyd’s traineeship has been well balanced between giving me responsibility and also appreciating that this is a new field for me. Throughout the year I have taken over my own files, researched the law, communicated with clients, secured the business of new clients, reported to work providers and negotiated with other solicitors. It has been a well-rounded experience and I am always becoming more excited about the prospect of qualifying in 2020.
If I could offer any advice to any fellow mature students who have made the decision to pursue a new career in law, it would be to accept that you are in the hands of your supervisors and colleagues and they will guide you appropriately and assist in your learning. Be prepared to be offered constructive criticism. Always remember you are a trainee to learn and conclude your legal training and it comes with the territory. You will have opportunities to shine, so make sure to take them when they arrive. Don’t forget that, if you have worked previously, you can bring a range of skills to your traineeship that can prove valuable to the firm. I have been able to keep my previous knowledge relevant by joining the firm’s website committee and I do enjoy being able to bring that knowledge to the the table.