Make the Most of your Training Contract – Top Tips from a Wilkes Partnership trainee

by Simran Bains

I am a second seat Trainee at The Wilkes Partnership LLP and I will be sharing some of my key pointers for making the most of your training contract based on my experience so far. I hope that this will be beneficial for any future (or even current) trainee solicitors reading
this blog!

About me
Before I go into my top tips, here is a little a bit about me…

I obtained my training contract at The Wilkes Partnership in September 2018 and then went on to complete my LPC at the University of Law. I was asked to join the firm as a Paralegal in July 2019, upon completion of my LPC, in the Private Client department. I then started my training contract with the firm in January 2020 in the Business Recovery and Insolvency team.

I am now currently in my second seat in the Real Estate department.

I can say without a doubt that I have really enjoyed my training contract so far and have learnt so much already through a combination of early responsibility and effective supervision. Now onto my top 5 tips…

Tip 1 – Don’t be afraid to get things wrong
Moving to a new seat (even as a second seater) is a daunting experience. I kept at the forefront of my mind as I moved into my second seat that whilst I was no longer a “newbie” to the firm, I was moving to a completely new area of law with a completely new team. No one expects you to be an expert straight away and it is important to remember that it will take you time to adjust and adapt not only to a new area of law, but also to the way a new team works and operates.

You should, however, try to take steps to prepare – I read up on Practical Law, review my LPC notes and materials and most useful of all, I ask questions to people in the team and to previous trainees. Everyone in your team genuinely wants you to do well, get stuck in and will appreciate you asking questions and showing that you are keen to learn.

You have worked hard to get this position and are no doubt more than capable of doing well.

Tip 2 – Get involved
At The Wilkes Partnership we are very keen on corporate social responsibility and have a dedicated committee of which I am a member. As part of this, I have been involved in quite a range of events. Two of my personal highlights have been dropping off supplies to a food bank in Solihull before Christmas and also a charity walk that we did for Alzheimer’s (our current charity of the year) from our office in Solihull to our office in Birmingham.

It is so beneficial to get involved in initiatives (as well as work socials) like this, as you get to mix with your colleagues outside of a work environment.

Tip 3 – Be open
Try to avoid going into your training contract with pre-conceived ideas of particular areas of law. Be open minded to try different areas, as you may well be surprised! I have spoken to countless people who have said that prior to starting their training contract, they had completely written off a particular area of law. They have then ended up doing a seat in that area and loved it so much they have qualified there.

I can speak from my own experience and the misconceptions I had about paralegalling in Private Client, which I did not think consisted of much more than drafting Wills. I could not have been more wrong and I ended up enjoying it far more than I could have imagined. The breadth of work and client exposure I got during my time there was amazing and truly set me up for my training contract. Try to make the most of each seat. While you are only going to qualify into one area, you should embrace each opportunity to learn and develop your skills.

Tip 4 – Be organised
It goes without saying that you will have to be organised to ensure you stay on top of things as a trainee, effectively plan your day and manage your workload.

I prepare a handwritten to do list each day so I can set myself clear goals for that day and mark things off as and when I complete tasks. I also make use of my diary to diarise key dates like court deadlines, meetings with clients, internal meetings and so on.

Tip 5 – Have fun
Most important of all, I would say make sure you enjoy your training contract! I would be lying if I said it is not an intense and stressful two years, but it is also a very rewarding time and will be over before you know it.

Make sure you take as much as you can from each experience, enjoy building relationships with clients and networking and developing the skills and knowledge to become a successful lawyer.

To find out more about The Wilkes Partnership and applying for a Training contract, please visit our website or follow us on social media: Twitter – @wilkeslaw | LinkedIn – the-wilkes-partnership

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