I commenced my training contract in the South Coast Succession and Tax Team in mid-March and was only in the office for one day before we started working from home and subsequently went into lockdown.
After taking my work laptop home at the end of my first day, I had never imagined that I would spend the first couple of months of my training contract working from my desk at home.
Despite the recognisable challenges, I was still able to settle into my role as a trainee, carry out a variety of work and adapt to working life at Blake Morgan. I have been assisting my team in a varied role: working on various client matters, drafting Lasting Powers of Attorney, creating Wills, and carrying out complex research. All allowing me to become a fully integrated member of the department and conduct client work just as I would if we were in the office. My supervisor and several other lawyers have been eager to involve me in their work and ensure I am still getting a full trainee experience whilst working remotely.
It has been interesting to witness how the firm as a whole, and my team, have rapidly adapted to working remotely and to see the impact COVID-19 has had on Private Client law. My team has quickly adjusted to our new working environments and use of new technology through holding virtual client and team meetings, carrying out various social activities such as Zoom evening drinks and coffee breaks (which mainly involves meeting each other’s pets), a catch-up buddy system and sharing our isolation journeys on WhatsApp. This has enabled me to “meet” and get to know my colleagues and keep up in constant contact whilst we all experience what is a new way of working life.
What has stood out during my time at Blake Morgan is the constant level of support I have received. I was enrolled in virtual training to understand our IT systems, have regular meetings with my supervisor and someone is always available to assist with any issue, no matter how small. Help is just a message or phone call away and the sense of community within the firm has been indisputably upheld throughout.
It is safe to say that my trainee experience has been like no other and I have started my legal career in very unusual times. This has come with its challenges and I am yet to meet most of my team in person, or learn my way around the office. Nevertheless, it has also been a very rewarding experience, which will undoubtedly benefit me in the long run and has prepared me to face any further challenges my training contract and life as a solicitor may bring.
My top tips to anyone looking for a training contract this summer are:
- Research, research, research! You can never know too much about the firm, make sure you keep up to date using LinkedIn and our press page.
- Be yourself, give honest answers and discuss topics that you are genuinely interested in. Let your personality shine through.
- Ask questions – show your interest in firm and don’t forget to ask the Trainees. They will give you honest opinions on working life, their time at the firm and answer any questions you may not want to ask a Partner. We are always here to help and have been through the application experience ourselves, so ask away!
- Spend time on your application – it is always worth putting in effort. The application process can be long, but an application with a lot of thought will stand out.
- Use the STAR technique – when describing an experience make sure you explain: the Situation, Task, Action and Result. The result is often forgotten, but it is essential for illustrating how you can reflect on previous work and bring the skills and qualities required in a trainee solicitor. Always emphasis how there is synthesis between your experiences and the life of a trainee at Blake Morgan.