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Starting your training contract

16 August 2011

So, the big day is finally here – the first day of your training contract. Although this can be nerve-wracking, it’s also exciting, and so, with the help of my fellow trainee, Laura Mackenzie, I’ve come up with a few useful tips for that big first day!

  • Look the part – first impressions count, and even if you think the first few days will be spent out of office, making an effort to look professional will help you to make a good impression, and to get into the right mindset for starting work.
  • Take a big bag! – the first few days at a firm can mean lots of information, hand outs and paperwork to carry around, so make sure you take a good sized bag with you, as hauling everything around in a carrier bag can look a little unprofessional!
  • Prepare – Make sure you spend the evening before your first day checking you have all the documentation HR have asked for – turning up without LPC or degree certificates and identification can appear disorganised, and can hold things up.
  • Ask questions – if there is something you are unsure of, make sure you ask – this could be HR, or perhaps a second year trainee. The chances are someone else will be wondering the same thing, even if you think it is a silly question!
  • Take advantage of socials – these can be a really great way of getting to know people at the firm, from your fellow trainees to your new colleagues. Making an effort to socialise and getting to know people will mean that there are lots of friendly faces to help you out and point you in the right direction (especially if you get lost in Nottingham office, which, believe me, is easily done!).
  • Look over notes – if you know which department you will be in first, take the time to look over any relevant notes you may have from your law degree/GDL/LPC. No-one is expecting you to be an expert, but it can help your confidence if you have some, even very basic, knowledge of the area you are going to be working in, and it can also help you to get the most out of your seat.
  • Try not to be nervous – although this is easier said than done, almost everyone you will meet at the firm throughout your time as a trainee will remember being a trainee themselves, and understand how you feel, especially at the beginning of your training contract.
  • Enjoy yourself! – you will only ever be a trainee once (hopefully!) and so try to enjoy what should be a great experience.

Lastly, good luck to everyone due to start their training contact!