Whilst our friends and family may think that we come to work every day as fully-fledged lawyers conducting million pound transactions and shouting "objection" at any opportunity, the reality is a little less glamourous.
Thankfully, The Law Society of Scotland recognises this and requires us to undergo continued training. This consists of at least 60 hours of Trainee Continuing Professional Development (TCPD) over the course of our traineeship, which is essential to ensure that we meet the outcomes and reach the standard of a qualifying solicitor.
Since we’ve started at Morton Fraser, the other trainees and I have attended training every Monday. It has been a great way to start the week and gives us an opportunity to catch up with the other trainees who work in our other offices. Not all firms are licensed to offer TCPD in house so we definitely feel lucky to have this valuable resource at our fingertips!
Our training has been on a variety of topics. We’ve had workshops on practical advice such as the available resources for our legal research, how to order title deeds and tips on drafting and letter writing. We've also had academic seminars on examination of title and equity investments. We’ve even had an afternoon out of the office on a tour of the Signet Library. The majority of our training has been on every day practical concerns and the thought behind this is that our two years as trainee solicitors aren’t meant as an academic exercise. Our clients are not looking for essays on the law as an answer to their problems, but for practical commercial advice, so less time is spent brainstorming about legal options and more time is spent actively solving problems.
The Law Society has set out a number of learning objectives for trainees. After each session we log our training and the beneficial outcomes. This ensures that both we and The Law Society can keep track of our progress to make sure that we are getting the knowledge and support that we need. We also fill out feedback forms at the end of each seminar which help shape the training programme for the following year. It is great to see that our feedback is valued!
In addition to everything we've learnt, training has been a great opportunity to meet colleagues from other divisions of the Firm. To have so much first hand experience shared with us is more beneficial than any text book we’ve read to get to this stage!
This may come as a surprise, but one of the great things about our training has been the social aspect! The training doesn’t just involve sitting all day staring at a PowerPoint presentation. We engage in discussions, complete activities in groups and share ideas. Trainees from other firms come to Morton Fraser for their training so it has been a great opportunity to get to know them and discuss our experiences as trainees.
Finally, the training that we’ve had each Monday has been hugely important but it isn’t the only way we’re developing our skills and knowledge. A partner recently told me that training is to the forefront of the Firm’s mind when it comes to everyone in the Firm. This has been clear to see as there have been a lot of training seminars given by colleagues as well as regular updates from the in house Professional Support Lawyers with news on significant case law.
Prior to my traineeship I hadn’t given significant thought to Continuing Professional Development, but Morton Fraser has made me realise the importance and value of surrounding each member of staff with the resources we need to continue to develop our knowledge and skills in a supportive environment. The law is constantly evolving, as are our clients’ needs, so it is vital that we embrace this opportunity to keep our knowledge and skills up to date.
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