This article outlines some useful questions to consider when finding the right traineeship for you.
Once again, it's application season, and as the pressure to secure a traineeship mounts it can be tempting to apply anywhere and everywhere. However, just as you must be the right candidate for the firm, it is equally as important that the firm is the right fit for you.
Here are some useful questions to consider when looking for your traineeship:
How will my traineeship be structured?
Firms may take varying approaches to the structure of their training programmes. Whilst some will have their trainees rotate through a variety of seats, others may offer traineeships within a singular practice are for the two-year duration. Some firms may also offer secondment opportunities. This could be a real selling point for you if you'd like to experience an in-house position to help develop your commercial awareness and strengthen client relationships in the industry. Before applying for any traineeship, consider which elements are important to you.
Morton Fraser is a full-service firm, providing services to businesses, individuals and families, and the public and third sectors. Trainees here are provided the opportunity to undertake four six-month seats (with the potential for secondment opportunities) across our Corporate, Litigation, Private Client, and Real Estate & Infrastructure divisions. However, many of our trainees have had the opportunity to spend 12 months within a team - demonstrating a degree of flexibility.
Which areas of law will I be exposed to?
Think about the type of work which you'd like to get involved in. You may have a blank slate hoping to experience a breadth of areas, or you may already have an idea of which aspects of law appeal to you from your time at university or from work experience opportunities. Whilst some firms may offer a broad range of services to their clients, their traineeship opportunities may be limited to a smaller number of areas. Having an idea of the type of training experience you want will help you to shortlist the firms which will lay the best foundation for your career. Think of it this way, if you have your heart set on experiencing a variety of practice areas, then you may question whether applying for a specialised property traineeship is the best use of your time.
It is, however, important to bear in mind that law in practice can be very different experience to studying the subject at university. This is something which I found out early as I navigated the Diploma in Professional Legal Practice. Here I was able to grasp opportunities to speak to practicing solicitors about their day-to-day activities and the work they're involved in. This helped me to gain a deeper understanding of how my favourite subjects translated into practice, and get a better picture of what to expect should I wind up in that particular seat.
What is the firm's culture like?
Your traineeship marks the start of your professional career as a solicitor, with trainees usually spending two years at the same firm. Not only must the firm provide you with the professional education necessary to excel in your career, but the environment must be somewhere you can see yourself happily working.
By choosing a firm with a culture which suits you and that shares your values you will be best placed to speak authentically at interview, integrate well, and fully engage with the work that the firm do. You should get a good idea of the firm's culture by taking opportunities to network with their solicitors, or by looking to how the firm is making an impact in their community and the wider profession. Firms will typically share the work which they do to support the issues they care about on their website and their social media channels.
What insights produced by the firm's solicitors have caught your attention?
Many firms publish articles written by their solicitors to their website. These can range from client-focussed information, to reports of the latest case law and insights into rather niche issues.
Reading these articles is an excellent way to keep up to date with topical legal matters whilst simultaneously learning more about the expertise of the solicitors within the firm - a win-win situation! It was from one of those insights that I discovered Morton Fraser - so it's great to see that the expertise within the firm aligns with my own interests. As a bonus, your reading may impress in an interview when you can demonstrate your level of interest in the firm and what they do by discussing some of these insights and how they align with your own views.
With all of this in mind, it is time to start researching.
The content of this webpage is for information only and is not intended to be construed as legal advice and should not be treated as a substitute for specific advice. Morton Fraser LLP accepts no responsibility for the content of any third party website to which this webpage refers. Morton Fraser LLP is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority.