The main tasks of a trainee solicitor vary a lot and that often depends on the department you’re in at any given time. Some departments are quite research heavy while others are more litigation based. The tasks given to you by your partner could be anything from researching a particular area of law to drafting documents such as letters to clients. You could also be sitting in on client meetings or having status updates, meetings with partners to go over your tasks for that week. If you’re in a litigation seat you could be going to court a lot for litigation meetings or actually sitting in on a case. The days are very rarely boring.
What is the most important trait?
One of the most important skills for a solicitor is to be a good communicator and a sociable person. Of course you need to be technically knowledgeable within your field, but you need to be able to translate complex legal problems to your client in a very understandable and concise way. It helps to be sociable as you’re constantly working with partners and associates, so you’re dealing with people on a day to day basis.
What was the path to your job?
I did two internships in a commercial law firm because I knew it was something I wanted to get into. Any type of experience within an office will be beneficial if you want to go down the law path. You can be told about it but unless you’re actually doing it from nine to 5.30, you’re not really going to get a feeling for the types of things you will be doing as a trainee solicitor. I did a bit of lecturing and if you’re comfortable with public speaking that definitely helps.