Last week the first year trainees organised the MF Burns Supper. This is a rather impromptu event which does not form part of the training contract and is not insisted upon in any firm policy however is equally as important. The organisation of this event is passed by word of mouth down through generations of trainees and is usually one of the highlights of the social calendar. I am sure one of the first year trainees will discuss their experience of organising the Burns Supper in a later blog. I do however think this is a good example of trainees not only getting involved in events and activities but actually taking responsibility for the organisation (fortunately for the attendees the first years were not expected to cook the food)!
There have also been examples in the past year of trainees playing an important role in the preparation of firm wide events such as the Christmas Party and AGM, both of which are big undertakings and involve a great deal of planning, organising and attention to detail. The Christmas Party in particular was attended by almost 200 people from across both of our offices in Glasgow and Edinburgh. As well as organising transport, managing the budget, the social committee choose the venue, dates, times, decorations and everything else which is required to host a successful party. I do wonder, given the wide spectrum of people who work at the firm and the varying degrees of taste, that approaching the night itself must start to feel like an episode of "Don't Tell the Bride". Thankfully the 2014 offering was very successful and went off without a hitch.
Away from party based social events, trainees also play a role in keeping the MF sporting calendar going. During the summer last year, Morton Fraser ran a popular mixed hockey team which was trainee led. Not only did this involve team selections and tactics but the booking of venues, finding appropriate competition and ensuring all players knew where and when to turn up. The hockey team was made up of people from across various teams which was a good opportunity to showcase planning and organisation skills. I had never really played hockey before but the games were always something I looked forward.
I organise the Morton Fraser 5-a-side football which we play every fortnight. This is good for a bit of exercise and is also a good opportunity to meet and socialise with other people from outside your own team. We are fortunate enough at the firm that we are usually always able to source 10 players and so far, in terms of my own organisation skills, there have been no complete disasters (although I am sure some of the other players who played outside at Sighthill on the night of the "Weatherbomb" may disagree)!
As with most law firms, the qualified solicitors will be very busy and may not have the time to get around to organising these type of events. Although trainees are given their fair share of workload there should still be scope for more involvement in 'extra-curricular' activities which are, first and foremost, great fun but will hopefully go some way to improving the work-life balance of everyone.