I think that we all have the pre traineeship fear that we're giving up our social lives to work late into the evenings and on weekends and I'm very happy to report that this is not the case.
There will definitely be times when your team is busy and you've got a lot of work to get through, or another team might need an extra pair of hands for a tight deadline, so you'll stay later, but that is more than balanced out by all the nights you're able to leave at a reasonable time.
Morton Fraser is not the kind of firm that expects you to stay late just for the sake of it. If you have finished your work and don't have anything urgent to do then it's perfectly fine to head off to your scuba diving class (or just to watch Corrie).
You're there to do the photocopying and make the tea
I can't speak for other firms but at Morton Fraser you are here to learn how to be a solicitor, and to do that you need to get hands on experience. In my first 2 months as a private client trainee I've had a wide variety of interesting tasks, including attending client meetings, drafting Wills and Powers of Attorney and researching complicated areas of the law, to name just a few.
Obviously the kind of work you are given depends on your seat, but you are made to feel you are there as a valuable part of the team. Saying that, I'm pretty sure every trainee will have a mammoth photocopying job or two in their time, but at least afterwards you can sleep easy in the knowledge that you've done your time in the trenches.
Partners are all completely unapproachable
Hopefully this myth will be put to bed even before you start your traineeship. You'll meet some of our partners at your traineeship interview and if you're anything like me you'll be surprised at how friendly and approachable they are. Our offices are all completely open plan which means that everyone, right up to the Chief Executive and the Chairman, sits together. This makes it far easier to get to know people and to approach partners to ask them questions.
You're expected to be an expert on the law
This is definitely the thing that worried me most before starting my traineeship. Like most people I seemed to be an expert on property law in the week leading up to my exam and then mysteriously forget it all as soon as I left the exam hall. Before starting my traineeship I was convinced that on day one I would be asked to explain the rules of Prescription and be sacked on the spot when I couldn't remember them.
You're not expected to remember all the intricacies of the law you learned at university, in fact most of that isn't relevant on a day to day basis. So far I've found that if you have a basic level of understanding and a willingness to learn as and when it's required, you'll be fine.
Hopefully you're now a little bit more confident that being a trainee isn’t a completely terrifying prospect, and that, like most horror films, the anticipation is much worse than the reality.
Do you have questions for me about the traineeship process? Please feel free to get in touch.