Posted: Wednesday 11 July 2012
by Helen McHugh
When I think back to this time last year there was a lot of discussion amongst my friends, who were excited but nervous about the prospect of starting traineeships in a few months time, about what kind of tasks we would be doing, how scary the Partners in our firm would be, how much they would expect us to know already and what different seats might be like to work in.
I would like to reassure anyone who is preparing to start their traineeship this year that it is not as scary as many students fear. Nobody expects you to be an expert on day one and many firms will settle you in with an induction programme (as Morton Fraser does) to allow you to familiarize yourself with the IT system and get to know the other trainees in your year, before letting you join your team.
Once you do get to your desk for the first time, you will undoubtedly have a lot of questions and there will be a lot of things to learn. However, in my experience, colleagues are always approachable and willing to help, and you should never forget that other trainees can be a big help too, particularly if they have already done your seat. The key is to identify the best person to answer each particular query and to try to remember the answers given to you so that you don’t have to ask the same things twice.
Whilst the tasks that you will do will depend on the nature of the seat and team you are in, the trainee is definitely not someone who is there just to do the photocopying. I have had many opportunities to assist with the drafting of different legal documents, running small transactions under the supervision of my training manager as well as assisting colleagues on larger transactions, and I am constantly learning and improving my skills.
In addition, and as many of my colleagues have mentioned in previous blogs, there are many non-work related activities you can get involved in during the traineeship such as joining a sports team, social committee or getting involved in the firm’s charity fundraising activities, as well as simply attending the firm’s social drinks events throughout the year. These activities are not only great fun but will help you to feel more at home by allowing you to get to know your colleagues better.
As I reflect on my past year at Morton Fraser, I realise that whilst I am still by no means an expert, I have learnt a lot since day one. I have undertaken a wide variety of tasks as well as joining our charity fundraising committee and book group, and I look forward to all that the coming year has to offer.