As I sit down to write my first trainee blog I cannot quite believe that it is now my turn to contribute to the blog I once read for advice through the training contract application process. I grew up in Bedford and would always look up at the clock and temperature display on the Woodfines’ building in Bedford, little did I know Woodfines would be where my career would start.
Unlike the other new trainees I have taken the more conventional route into the law, if there really is such a thing. I chose to study Law at the first opportunity at A-Level and continued to study Law, completing my LLB degree at the University of Hull. I then went on to complete the Legal Practice Course at the University of Law in London and worked at a local firm in Bedford in their Commercial Property and Litigation departments before starting my training contract at Woodfines.
My first seat is in the Crime and Regulatory department and is entirely new to me having had no previous experience in crime or regulatory matters. Within my first week, I found myself in two different police stations, the Magistrates’ Court and the Crown Court. In my diary for this week is a prison visit, VIPER identity parade, taking a witness statement, preparing a proof of evidence and briefing counsel. In terms of regulatory matters, I have prepared research regarding the duty of care for the disposal of waste under the Environmental Protection Act and have been involved with numerous licensing matters for taxis and HGV’s. I have found it easy to settle in quickly thanks to the team who have been very welcoming and supportive which has made what could have been a daunting time an enjoyable one.
There is no question about it, securing a training contract is a competitive process and my journey to this point has not been easy. It is important to prepare yourself so that you can present yourself in the very best way. One way you can do this is to read around topical issues so that you can discuss them during the interview process. This also presents a great opportunity to demonstrate your "commercial awareness", a skill firms want their potential trainees to be developing. It shows you have really understood and absorbed what you have read and have been able to apply some all-important commercial logic. Having a quick look at the news everyday, be it on the internet, an app or the TV is a good habit to get into. If something catches your eye and interests you, read further and think about how the news might affect clients and a commercial law firm.
Being a lawyer in the twenty first century involves not only advising on the law but also thinking outside of the box and considering economic, social and political factors. Knowing what is going on in the world around us, and keeping up to date with the news, is the first step to being able to give clients practical and relevant advice.
Knowing the facts regarding a topical issue and being able to demonstrate an understanding having applied those facts in a commercial context alongside being able to appreciate the impact this might have on a client is a fantastic way to prepare you as a budding trainee.
Until next time, happy reading!