After accepting my traineeship offer from Morton Fraser I had two years to wait before my start date. This time flew in between dissertation deadlines, graduating, and starting and finishing the Diploma but I often wondered about, and admittedly panicked over, my first few days and weeks in the world of full-time work. Undoubtedly, some people reading this will have the same concerns so I thought it might be useful to shed some light on how best to survive the first twenty-eight days.
Know your seat
You will likely find out the area of your first seat a few weeks before you start. This might be an area that you have spent a lot of time studying or you may have only covered it briefly. While it helps to do some research and revision, don’t worry that you will be expected to know everything on day one. You will be given clear instructions for any task you are assigned and there are numerous resources available for reference. You might even find you know more than you think – I’ve been surprised by the amount of the information I actually remember from university.
The first two days of the traineeship were spent in induction training. This covered what we would need to know to hit the ground running when we arrived at our desks, from Law Society requirements to the resources available to us to IT systems. Even as someone who loves technology the client file system had me at a bit of a loss and even standard programs are modified to suit Morton Fraser's requirements, so there is a lot to learn. However, the training is really comprehensive and it definitely left me better equipped for day one of work.
Don't be afraid to ask questions
There's no such thing as a stupid question. Numerous people will have told you this, but it’s worth repeating. It is expected that you will ask questions and it’s much better to ask for clarification than to spend ages working on something just to find out you’ve done it wrong and have to start over. Having said that you might still feel daft asking questions, I know I do, but you just need to accept that.
Before starting my traineeship a friend, who had started training with another firm a few weeks earlier, gave me an excellent piece of advice – always have a pen and paper to hand. This might seem obvious but you never know when you might be given instructions and, trust me, you will want to write these down so you have something to keep you on track when you start the task.
Such a big part of your life is now spent at work that it makes sense to get involved and make your time spent here enjoyable. Before starting I thought of all the nightmare lawyers I’d watched in TV shows and, having watched all four seasons of Suits over the summer, I convinced myself that there would be a Morton Fraser version of Lewis Litt shouting at me on day one and terrifying all of us trainees. I couldn’t have been more wrong. Everyone I have met has been incredibly welcoming, friendly, and always happy to answer questions or offer help and guidance.
Moreover, it’s not all work and no play and there are plenty of opportunities to get involved in more than just your day-to-day work. In the past twenty-eight days I’ve baked for and attended a Macmillan coffee morning held in the office, attended a Morton Fraser Business Women’s Network event at the Corinthian in Glasgow, joined colleagues for staff drinks, enjoyed a dress down day in the office and joined the giving something back committee to help organise charity events.
Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think the traineeship will be all fun and games but I do think you will get out of it as much as you are willing to put in. For me the hardest part was, and is, the end of the student timetable. The early starts required to be in the office before 9am still leave me feeling, and no doubt looking, like a bit of a zombie until I get my morning coffee!
Check back after March to find out if I survive until 28 Weeks Later …