Although the years that you've put in studying the theory at university are absolutely crucial, learning how to actually 'be a lawyer' is a hands-on business, and your time as a trainee is all about learning by doing. Particularly when you’ve just started, every day brings new experiences and challenges. At first, just answering the phone is a nerve-wracking experience!
But you don’t get thrown in at the deep end. Instead, you're gradually introduced to different parts of the job - whether by sitting in on client meetings, receiving specialised training on new areas, or even handling your own matters under supervision - and before long you feel confident enough to deal with what each day throws at you. Thanks to the training and support you receive from those around you, you soon go from being vaguely terrified whenever asked to deal with anything new to actively looking for work, and seeking out new things to learn (that definitely never happened at uni!)
One of the most reassuring parts of the first couple of months in the office is the realisation that most of the stuff drilled into your head over years of studying has actually stayed there. And some of it can even be put to use! The same rules about title deeds, standard securities and the rest apply in the office as at university, and in many ways the first few months as a trainee are all about joining up the dots to figure out exactly how the knowledge you have stored away somewhere can be put to use to meet the needs of your clients.
Being a trainee means taking on 101 different tasks, and while there's no doubt that some are more interesting than others, they all come together to help you learn the processes, and hopefully get a little better at your job every day.
Perhaps the most interesting piece of work I’ve been involved in since I started was attending a property auction on behalf of a client who was selling several pieces of land around Scotland. Also in attendance to watch the sale of numerous development opportunities (auctioneer speak for 'former public toilet') were the BBC’s television cameras, filming 'Homes Under the Hammer.' I managed to remain professional and resist the temptation to place any bids, but it's nice to know that while the world of work has restricted my opportunities to enjoy daytime TV, it hasn't cut them off entirely!