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trainee survival guide

25 July 2018

So the application form has been submitted, the assessment centre attended and finally the training contract is in the bag. For some, myself included, this triggers a nagging question 'how can I be the best trainee I can be?'

Browne Jacobson trainees have been great at giving hints and tips on the skills you need for your training contract which are available in our trainee talk blog. Here are some tips I think are key to surviving life as a trainee and beyond.

  1. Don’t be shy, build a relationship with your supervisor

This may sound obvious but it is key to the trainee experience. In each seat your supervisor is there to do more than just give you a stream of work to complete. It is important to build a relationship with them so that they invest time in your development and so that you feel comfortable when receiving feedback from them. I would suggest scheduling regular wellbeing catch ups with your supervisor to do so.

  1. Be adaptable

Try and adapt to the different fee earners that you work with and the different clients that you work for.

All fee earners you work with will have different working and supervising styles. It is important to understand these and adapt to them quickly. When working with someone new, I would suggest talking with them about, if they want you to manage the file, in what format, when they want to review your work and importantly what they mean by urgent.

With clients it is important to understand their working style from the get go. This can be difficult as we work with different clients each day. Where possible I would suggest making contact by telephone so you can find out quickly the parameters you’re working in.

  1. Get involved

The trainee cohort at Browne Jacobson is supportive and close knit. We can often be found socialising together at lunch time or after work, situations that are not unique to our year or Browne Jacobson trainees. However it is really important not to stay in the trainee bubble.

Although 2 years feels like a long time your training contract will end and you will qualify. It is important to have developed relationships throughout the firm and with clients. Attend client networking events; join the various clubs; volunteer on a charity programme or join a committee.

  1. Keep an open mind

When applying for training contracts, we invariably think about which areas we want to do seats in, which office we want to be based in and where we want to qualify.

Let go of your preconceived ideas and keep an open mind when choosing your seats. I am currently in my second seat in the property team in Manchester, having previously spent 2 and a half years in the Nottingham office. Moving office has introduced me to different people at the firm, the new sector for Browne Jacobson and the emerging technology sector in the North West.

  1. Think commercially

It doesn’t matter whether you are in a transactional or contentious based area or whether your client is from the public or private sector, you must think about each decision and piece of advice commercially and from your client’s perspective.

What does this mean? It means, think about your client’s interests and current status. Do they need a deal to be done quickly; are they thinking about their reputation; can they afford to settle; do they want to avoid setting a precedent; are there any industry trends that will impact their position?

Whilst this will take time to develop, it is important to keep these questions at the forefront of your mind so that you can plan your next steps and make the best decisions for your client.

Whilst there will never be a one size fits all to being a trainee I hope that my tool guide provides you with some valuable pointers and helps you think about the kind of trainee you want to be.