21 June 2019

By Trainee Solicitor Rebecca Arthur

I am now sitting in the sixth seat of my training contract with Burges Salmon and have been offered an NQ position in the firm’s corporate tax and incentives team.

Coming to the end of my training contract has led me to think about the things I have learnt over the last two years.

1. The simple things matter

Sometimes we spend so long thinking about the really technical aspects of a legal issue but then make a silly mistake such as spelling the client’s name wrong. It is vital that we avoid those little errors as they undermine the really good work we do.

2. It is ok to have a life outside of the office

One of my concerns when beginning my training contract was how could I balance having a husband, a dog and a commute whilst also appearing keen at work and saying 'yes' to everything.

One of the key lessons I have learnt is that it is ok to have a work life balance. Sometimes urgent things come in that require you to stay late but that shouldn’t be everyday and if you are finding that work and life are not balancing it is ok to have that conversation with your supervisor.

3. Build an internal network

Law firms are like a large sports team and you often need to work together with other parts of the team to provide advice. It is therefore really important that throughout your training contract you are building up your internal network.

4. It’ll all work out in the end

Having completed my training contract and been offered an NQ position, I wish that I had spent a little less time worrying. During my contract, I spent a lot of time worrying about seat allocation, whether I was working hard enough, appearing keen enough and whether there would NQ positions available. Reflecting on my time as a trainee, I wish I had simply taken a little more time to just enjoy being a trainee.

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