My Traineeship Survival Kit

Author: Sheila Mackintosh
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I am now a quarter of my way through my traineeship with Mitchells Roberton and I have survived! My first six months have been spent in the Residential Conveyancing  Department and I am moving on now to working in the Private Client Department and looking forward to this new challenge. When I started I really did not know what to expect but I have certainly learned a number of important lessons which I call my survival kit. Let me share these.

  1. If you don’t know ask. At first I was shy about asking and I felt that I should know more than I actually did. Remember this is a traineeship where you are being taught how to become a qualified solicitor. I have been lucky that all my colleagues have made the time to help me and I am very grateful to them for their patience in sharing their wealth of knowledge with me.
  2. Support staff are your best friend. I quickly realised that I had to draw on the experience of secretaries, IT team, mail room staff and everyone in the front office administration team. They have been fantastic with me and I truly appreciate it.
  3. Communicate . As a trainee it is important to recognise that good communication is key with both clients and colleagues. Clients like to be kept updated and I knew that ,but I am now very aware that communication with colleagues is equally important. If you are not going to be in the office then up-date your email-auto response. If you feel you could take on more work then send an email to say so. When I started work here I tried to participate in any group event and was proud to be in the team that took part in the Sleep in the Park fund raising occasion. I am on the firm’s Social Committee. It has helped me build relationships which make my working days much more pleasant.
  4. Organisation is crucial. A messy desk can slow down your work rate and can cause embarrassment if you are speaking to a client and cannot find the letter you want to discuss with them.  It is impossible to just deal with one file only so you will have lots of files on your desk that you will be working on. To keep on top of this it is essential to organise your tasks and prioritise your time. Keeping a task list is very useful.
  5. Be aware of deadlines. You need to know deadlines and not be scared of them. All of your work will have deadlines. There will be that court date to adhere to, a completion date to be met or simply responding to a client request.  If you feel you cannot meet a deadline tell whoever is in charge of that file as soon as possible.
  6. Be enthusiastic and smile. It can be stressful for sure. Remember it is important to have a good work-life balance and enjoy your traineeship.

I certainly am enjoying mine.

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