A day In the Life of a Trainee Solicitor
08.15. I like to get in early while it’s quiet to catch up on emails and, if needed, hog the photocopier. Luckily, I don’t have to prepare a bundle today so it’s just a case of responding to some emails from clients, expert witnesses and factual witnesses. One factual witness has sent back the witness statement that I drafted after our interview; she is happy to approve it so I arrange for it to be sent out to her for signing. I spent about four hours on the phone to this witness who has made a complaint about some dental treatment she received, which left her in a lot of pain and discomfort. She was clearly very distressed by the experience so I am pleased that she feels the statement I drafted captures everything she remembers.
09.00. I receive an urgent email from one of the barristers in the team. He would like an update on a case which needs to be disclosed very soon. We discuss the case – and the difficulties we have had with one witness – and decide that I will review the file and prepare a summary of all the contact we have had with this witness for our client to review. I cross my fingers and give her a telephone call too – she doesn’t pick up so I leave her another voicemail.
09.30. I receive an email from a colleague. She is currently on secondment with a client and I will be replacing her in a fortnight. When would be a good time for me to come in and meet the team? We arrange for me to go over next week – it will be really interesting to spend time with a client.
10.00. Time to go into a conference with two expert witnesses and an external barrister, as well as a barrister from our team. This is a huge case concerning poor dental practice, involving over 25 patients as well as very technical questions about payment for dental treatment. I prepared all the paperwork yesterday, including the bundles of over 1000 pages. We have a very productive discussion. My primary role is to take a detailed note but, because I know the case so well, I am able to question the experts about their opinions and contribute towards how we will draft the charges. Despite being quite new to the team, my contribution is always valued and I don’t feel awkward about making my voice heard in any discussion.
13.00. After three hours of conference, it’s time for a break. I head off for lunch with a few other trainees and paralegals. There are so many cafes and food markets around that it’s often difficult to decide where we’ll go.
14.00. I type up the conference note from the morning and send it to the barrister for review, before sending it to the client. It’s pretty fiddly to do and I keep having to check the draft allegations as well as my notes. I send it to the experts too and ask for their updated reports after the weekend. One telephones me to query something about the format of his report and I advise him as to what we require.
16.00. We prepare an e-bulletin of recent relevant regulatory cases to be sent to the clients. I have a few case summaries to prepare, so I spend some time reviewing the cases online before drafting the summaries. One case requires I do a bit of research about recent changes to healthcare legislation. I send it to my colleague for review and she sends me her summaries to proof-read.
17.15. We have a Friday night tradition of team drinks – I organised the drinks last week so I can clean out my inbox while waiting for the Prosecco to arrive!