It can be difficult to know what the day-to-day life of a Trainee is really like, so we had a chat with our two Trainee Solicitors, Kezia and Isabel, to give you the inside scoop. This is what they had to say about their experiences as they complete their Training Contracts at Allan Janes.
What seat are you currently in?
Isabel: I am just approaching the end of my seat in the corporate and commercial law department. Next week, I will be moving to the commercial property team. This will be my final 6-month seat before I qualify in September.
Kezia: I am coming to the end of my first seat working in the commercial and residential property team and I will then be moving on to work in dispute resolution. Once I have completed this seat, I will be half-way through my training contract.
What matters are you currently working on?
Isabel: A wide variety of corporate matters ranging from a corporate restructuring project, which involves the setting up of shelf companies, to drafting share purchase agreements and terms and conditions, and reviewing franchise agreements.
Kezia: I am currently working on a range of commercial property matters, primarily the drafting and negotiation of leases for offices and industrial units. This often also requires the preparation of ancillary documentation such as licences to alter and rent deposit deeds. I have also worked on a number of residential conveyancing transactions of both freehold and leasehold properties.
What responsibilities do you have as a trainee?
Isabel: I support the Partners and Associates in the progress of cases and transaction management across various legal departments. This involves advising, drafting, researching, interviewing, negotiating, dispute resolution, advocacy and client care. I have the responsibility of working on cases both independently and collaboratively with others.
Kezia: I have many of the same responsibilities as Isabel but I have found that some are more prominent than others depending on the work you are doing. For example, in residential property there is a strong emphasis on client care as you guide the client through the house-buying process. Whereas, in commercial property, whilst client care still plays an important role, there is also significant responsibility surrounding drafting and negotiation.
How do you spend your average day at work?
Isabel: The first thing I do when I get to my desk is check if I have received any work emails or missed calls since logging off the evening before. After dealing with those, and unless I am in a meeting or on a conference call, I tend to work methodically through a to-do list of tasks on my current cases, prioritising the most urgent, although I sometimes need to drop what I am doing if something more pressing comes in. We are then given an hour lunchbreak and I often spend mine catching up with my team. In the afternoon, I usually meet with a fee earner to discuss cases, ask questions, and/or be delegated new work. I usually leave the office at around 5:30pm, depending on workflow, deadlines and client expectations.
Kezia: My working day normally starts when I arrive at the office at 9am. I will firstly review any emails that have come in overnight and deal with anything urgent before moving on to set out my tasks for the day. At the start of each week I compile a to-do list to work through so I will make a start on this. I try to work through it in order but it is inevitable that other things will come up that have to take priority. I normally go for lunch at around 1pm and use this time to grab a bite to eat, catch up with my colleagues and sometimes run errands. During the afternoon I will usually continue through my to-do list and discuss any queries or concerns from the morning’s tasks with the relevant Partner. I normally leave the office at 5:30pm and try to always leave a tidy desk (but that doesn’t always work out!).
Why did you choose to train at Allan Janes?
Isabel: I knew that the quality of training at Allan Janes would be high as I would be trained by fee earners who have years of experience under their belt. Allan Janes operates with a fairly small team, so I also knew that I would receive attentive, in-depth training, but with access to a quality of work likened to much larger firms.
Kezia: I was lucky enough to have a few weeks’ work experience at Allan Janes in 2018 and have been invited back over the years to work as a paralegal through my studies before being offered a Training Contract. From my experience at the firm, I knew that training here would allow me to work on a wide range of high calibre matters. I also liked that working closely with the Partners and Associates is strongly encouraged.
What is the office culture like at Allan Janes?
Isabel: Friendly! I have felt welcomed and supported by the team in each department I have worked in.
Kezia: Allan Janes has a close-knit team and there’s always someone around to answer your questions, from Partners to support staff. It is a very sociable firm which makes for a very collaborative way of working.
What advice would you give to someone applying to be a Trainee at Allan Janes?
Isabel: Go for it. Training Contract applications and interviews can be daunting, but if you do your research, brush up on your legal knowledge from university, and practice speaking confidently, you’ll be halfway there already.
Kezia: As well as making sure that your legal knowledge is up to scratch, ensure that you research Allan Janes and have an understanding of the type of work that we do here. Most importantly, be yourself and make sure that you show us what you can bring to the table.
If you are looking for a Training Contract and feel that Allan Janes may be the right ‘fit’ for you, please do not hesitate to email your CV and a brief covering letter to our Training Partner, Alex Stanier.