By Jonathan Barron, Trainee Solicitor
Taking the first step onto the career ladder is a significant moment for any budding young solicitor, which can often feel like a leap into unknown rather than the blossoming of a successful legal career.
Legal traineeships are somewhat unique amongst other graduate jobs, in the sense that frequently a candidate can accept an offer, then there may be a period of two years, or sometimes even longer, before work gets underway. As a student still in the midst of your undergraduate degree, and with completing the Diploma still between you and the beginning of your traineeship, this feels like a lifetime away. In fairness, this probably does constitute a different life in many ways. You’re a graduate now, you’ve got your degree and your diploma, and you’re finally joining the world of work. It’s time to put this all into practice.
While this may sound melodramatic to some, it is undoubtedly a chapter in your life that is very exciting, new and at times unavoidably daunting. Whichever way you look at it, life is changing.
At Turcan Connell, which has offices in Edinburgh, Glasgow and London, this is a tremendously positive change and I feel incredibly fortunate to be turning this chapter inside a firm of this ilk. In contrast to the two year gulf between the forensic level of drafting and re-drafting applications, the interviews and actually accepting the position, right the way through to the first day sitting at my desk, the first six weeks of my traineeship have absolutely flown by.
Quality of work
My first seat is within the Tax and Succession team, and I have been dealing with Wills, Trusts, Executries and everything that comes along with them. There has been so much to learn and absorb, with enough practice in-between to let it all actually soak in; whether it is something simple, like learning how to use the printing facilities, or even the dreaded process of time recording, all the way up to the intricate complexities of drafting a detailed Will or Trust document. It has, fortunately for me, been towards the latter end of this spectrum that I have enjoyed and managed to get my teeth stuck into a lot more than perhaps I expected. The nightmare image of being a Trainee and slaving away all day at the monotonous drone of a photocopier is exactly that, an unsubstantiated nightmare.
It is this quality of work which sets Turcan Connell apart from my previous experiences within other law firms. And I really wish I could go into lots of details about exactly who I’ve worked for, and exactly what I’ve helped do for them. However, I unfortunately can’t. You know, confidentiality and all that. I’m not going to be naïve or cliché and start saying that “no two days are alike” or something along those lines. There are, of course, things that you do often enough that they will become your bread and butter. I might only be six weeks in (not even a tenth of the way through my Traineeship) but there are definitely a few tasks or skills that I can already start to place in that category. Even I can admit, it is difficult to get excited over registering a Power of Attorney, but it is not the cold hard words on a page that makes these types of documents interesting, it’s the story behind it; all its twist, turns and quirks that shape the situation as such that it comes across your desk for you to leave your mark on it.
However, it’s not all work and no play. I’ve not been with the firm for any substantial time yet, and I’ve already been paintballing, taken part in multiple pub quizzes, and been out with my fellow Trainees (possibly more than I should ever be mentioning here). And not only that, but at the time of writing, we are in the ‘calm before the storm’ in the run up to Christmas and the associated plethora of drinks evenings, team nights out and the pinnacle of the Turcan Connell Annual Christmas Party, which I have been promised is always a night to remember.
My father always told me the old mantra of “never count your chickens before they’re hatched”, however if the first 6 weeks of my new job are anything to go by, I won’t have a thing to worry about.