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Reflections from our newly qualified Solicitors

Supporting the development of our people is something we’re really passionate about and our Training Contracts are a great opportunity for aspiring solicitors to kick-start their career within the legal industry. By experiencing different areas of the business through the various ‘seats’, trainees are able to gain practical experience and develop an understanding of how all areas of a personal injury specialist operates.

The two-year Training Contracts programme gives trainees the opportunity to develop their legal and commercial skills; all while maximising their knowledge to prepare them for their qualified role and deliver the best possible support to our personal injury clients. We caught up with our newly qualified Solicitors Clare Smeaton, Joanne Jewell-Purves and Rosie Owen to see how they found their Training Contracts with us and their plans for the future.

What did you most enjoy about your Training Contract?

CS: I found the exposure to other areas of the business really valuable. Moving to different teams helped me see how we all work together. The opportunity to work in Corporate Services and with the Executive Board during my business seat was also a highlight.

RO: I loved the variety of work and the opportunity to experience so many areas of the business. As well as being technically strong lawyers, we are also encouraged to be commercially minded and my exposure allowed me to develop a strong understanding of the operation.  

What was the most challenging aspect?

CS: I initially didn’t give much weight to the non-technical development that I would need during the training contract. When moving seats and teams, finding your place within established teams can be tricky and that’s something I’d not really experienced before. It taught me a lot about personalities, how teams form and the importance of understanding and appreciating the value every person brings to the team.

JJP: Delivering presentations to the Executive team. Although this was daunting at first after I learnt how to tailor and adapt my communication style, my confidence grew.

RO: It is essential that you are able to adapt to change. I personally struggled as I only wanted to be a complete benefit to departments and sometimes I felt that I was a burden on my seat supervisor, however they were always so supportive and patient when providing guidance. I grew to understand that people were not expecting me to be perfect, and appreciated that I was on a development journey.

How did you find balancing your training contract and personal life?

CS: I needed to make sure that I was organised and was aware of what time was available to me in the week. I tried to understand what my workload looked like and completed the smaller tasks in those 10 minute slots you might have wasted previously.

RO: This was challenging at times, but for me it is all about being able to identify your priorities.  My partner and family were very understanding when I needed to work later or at weekends, but then this was not a daily occurrence. I have achieved big milestones in my personal life whilst completing my training contract, so that is proof that I was able to maintain the great work/life balance that Minster Law encourages.

What advice would you give to others starting a Training Contract?

CS: Securing a training contract has probably been the ‘end goal’ for a while, so remember to reposition what the contract means; far from being the end, it is really the beginning of the start of your career. Find the joy in everything you do and think carefully about what opportunities you want to make the most of.

JJP: Always make sure you request feedback from your colleagues and manager throughout each seat, and seek opportunities to improve your development areas. Think carefully about how you deal with difficult situations/people. Set yourself manageable, realistic goals (technical and non-technical) and meet up on a regular basis with your mentor to assess your performance.

RO: Go into it with an open mind and approach each aspect of the training with this attitude. Prior to starting the training contract I never believed I would qualify into an Employment Law role but this became the best opportunity for me long-term.  I would encourage others to be open to every area and as you complete your seats, use your knowledge of different areas to your advantage, help drive consistency, encourage collaboration and enjoy the diversity that the training contract provides.

For more employee insights, click here.