- Phillipa Mckernan
What is it like to be a trainee solicitor? Here is an insight of what it is like for Pippa.
Updated: Jul 19, 2022
Hi, I am Pippa, a trainee solicitor at FG Solicitors.
I joined the firm in August 2020 as a Legal Intern, and now having completed six months of my training contract, I can honestly say that every day at FG Solicitors is different. Whilst there is no typical day as a trainee, here is a day from last week.
6:45 I wake up, workout and get ready for work. Having a short commute (just 15 minutes) means that I have plenty of time in the mornings for hitting the gym, reading a book or keeping up to date with the latest news.
8:15 I arrive at the office, have a catch-up with the team and sit down with a cup of tea. I always check my emails, the calendar and our tasks list first thing in the morning, so that I know what we have on that day.
8:30 I sit down with Floyd Graham, the Managing Principal and my training supervisor, to make some final amendments to a letter that I drafted for a client regarding a shareholder dispute. One of the best things about being a trainee at FG Solicitors is that I am given the responsibility of drafting documents and letters on topics that I have not come across before, with the comfort that these will always be checked by a supervising principal. Floyd and I discuss the amendments that need to be made, and I ask any questions that I have on the topic. I always keep a copy of any amendments in my training log and use these for the next time that I undertake a similar task.
9:00 The legal team meeting. We sit down together as a team every morning to discuss our priorities for the day. We also discuss any complex, challenging and interesting matters that have arisen, which, as a trainee, I have found to be very useful.
09:30 I attend a client meeting with Floyd and Ramona Bakshi, a newly qualified solicitor, regarding a commercial dispute. During the meeting I am responsible for taking notes and assisting Floyd with identifying relevant documents and legislation.
10:30 Following the client meeting, Floyd, Ramona and I discuss the legal and commercial issues from the client’s perspective. Having done this, we create a project plan and begin to prepare a letter rejecting a part-36 offer and making a counter offer, which is due by the end of the following day. As Floyd has an urgent meeting to attend, Ramona and I draft the remainder of the letter together before it is checked and sent to the client for final approval.
11:30 I have been working on the first draft of a defence to an employment tribunal claim. The defence has to be filed by the end of the week, so I spend the next hour reviewing the client documents and the claim form in preparation for a meeting with my supervising principal to review the draft and make any amendments.
12:30 Lunch! I usually bring lunch from home so that I can sit with my colleagues, watch something on the TV and have a chat. Today, we have ordered lunch in, so we all sit together to eat and talk. From my first day at FG Solicitors, lunch time discussions have been one of my favourite things about the firm, it is a great opportunity to get to know my colleagues better.
13:30 We have recently assisted a client to expand their business into a foreign jurisdiction, by incorporating a branch of the Company in Germany. As a trainee, I was responsible for researching German incorporation requirements and preparing the first draft of the incorporation documents. Following on from the incorporation, the client now requires a set of bespoke German precedent contracts for their German employees. After speaking with Helen Taylor, a Principal and senior employment lawyer, about German employment law, I begin to research the specific requirements and prepare the precedent contract.
16:45 A principal asks if I can assist them with researching US contractors’ licence requirements, as a client is having an issue with their US operations. I use our international resources to research the matter and identify the cause of our client’s issue. As I am not able to find all of the information that the client needs, I telephone the Washington Secretary of State and the Washington State Department of Labour and Industry to resolve the issue for the client.
17:50 I check off all the tasks that were completed and write a to do list for tomorrow with any outstanding tasks. After this I finish any administrative tasks such as client referrals, time recording and file notes before checking with my supervisor and colleagues whether they need any assistance.
If we do not have any urgent pieces of work, we are always encouraged to finish work and go home, so that we have an opportunity to unwind, be active or spend time with friends and family. However, when there is a deadline that needs to be met, the team always pulls together and to ensure that we deliver for our clients.
During my first few months as a trainee, we worked on a company acquisition, which meant that we had to stay late in the office on a few occasions. As a trainee, I had always anticipated the need to stay in the office late, but at FG solicitors, staying late is a little different, we order a takeaway, gather our laptops and the papers and get the job done as one team.
18:00 I leave the office and drive home. When I get home, I head out with my partner for a game of tennis at our local club.