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working in the social care team

23 March 2011

What does the team do?

The team specialises in social care and child and vulnerable adult protection issues. The work covers both litigation and advisory work for public sector bodies. On the litigation side, the team defends local authorities against claims of negligence or ‘failure to remove’ children from abusive home environments. On the advisory side, we assist a range of clients, including public bodies and sporting organisations, in creating appropriate procedures for the safeguarding of children and vulnerable adults.

What type of work does a trainee do?

It’s a real mix. You manage a number of your own cases which are going through the litigation process. You also get work from other fee earners. This could be a full range, from research and drafting to interviewing witnesses. Each case is unique and often very quirky, so you may end up doing some odd tasks that they never mentioned at law school!

What level of responsibility/hands on experience (i.e. manage your own files etc) does a trainee receive?

You are in charge of your own casework. You’ll be under the supervision of your supervisor or another fee earner, but the day to day management of the case is yours. Its great to get that level of responsibility, but it also means that no one will tell you what deadlines are coming up, so you have to be pretty organised. On other tasks you’ll work closely with the fee earner who gave you the work and who is likely to be working on a different aspect of the same case.

How much client contact does a trainee get?

Lots. On your own cases you will be in contact with the client every time there is a development in the case, either to take instructions or to keep them updated. Often you may have to get instructions from a client for another fee earner, if, for example, they are out of the office or something has come up at the last minute.

What has been the highlight for you in this seat?

I had to organise a video link for a trial, drive over to Norwich to pick the witness up take him to the court, assist him through cross examination, then drop him home and drive back to the office.