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A seat in the social care team...

29 December 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?
A trainee’s work in this seat is varied and challenging – I will be doing different things every day for all members of the team. This will range from carrying out research tasks to drafting letters and emails to clients. Working in such a contentious department enables trainees to get a great experience of the litigation process. I also make sure that the team keeps an up to date opinions blog on the firm’s legal opinions website: ‘law less ordinary’. I get to work out of the office a lot too – observing training, visiting clients, going to court, interviewing witnesses or meeting counsel.

What level of responsibility/hands on experience (i.e. manage your own files etc) does a trainee receive?
Trainees in this team are given a lot of responsibility and get to manage their own cases. This means that I am often liaising with clients or the solicitors on the other side to ensure the cases are progressing and any court deadlines are met. Trainees will also work closely with other fee earners on their files. This seat provides great experience of litigation as well as developing organisation and time management skills. Appropriate supervision and a good support system ensure that trainees are always on the right track whilst still being given a high level of responsibility.

How much client contact does a trainee get?
Running your own cases means that you are often in contact with clients – on the phone or writing letters or emails. Other fee earners are always keen for you to attend client meetings with them too.

What has been the highlight for you in this seat?
My highlight has been the travel and regularly working out of the office. For example, I have driven to South Wales to interview two witnesses. Following these interviews I continued to liaise with the witnesses and drafted their witness statements.