What’s the first thing you do when you get into the office?
I always get a glass of a water to set me off for the day. I then have a general chat with my colleagues about their evening and check my emails to see what has come in from the night before. I will usually revise my to-do list depending on what has come in and then pick a task to start.
Could you give us a quick breakdown of how you spend the average day in this seat?
An average day will normally consist of drafting new contracts, reviewing documents or drafting advice notes and emails to clients. Depending on the length and complexity of a particular matter or document, tasks can take me up to a full day or a few hours, and so every day is (fortunately) different.
I also try and take 5-10 mins each day to catch up on legal news from the legal updates I have signed up to and will invariably also have a chat with my supervisor for new instructions on tasks.
How much do you correspond with senior colleagues and clients on a daily basis?
We sit in an open plan office, and so I speak to my senior colleagues face-to-face pretty much all day. I am usually given work by the fee earner coming up to me and asking personally, and after that then work is sent back via email.
The great thing about Mills & Reeve is that we are encouraged to talk to one another rather than hide behind emails and if I have any questions about a task as I am going along, I can either turn around and talk to my supervisor; or if they are in a different office, pick up the phone. 9 times of out 10 I just go up and speak to them.
I have had less client exposure in this seat compared to others and whilst I have been able to email clients directly, I will usually draft the email for my supervisor to ultimately send out to the client.
The location of many of our clients and the nature of the work means that face-to-face client meetings in this seat are quite few and far between, however I would usually have at least 1 telephone conference call with a client a week.
What sort of responsibilities do you have as a trainee? Are you tackling hands-on project work or taking a more general skills-based approach?
During my first week in this I was asked to run two matters myself! They were simple trade mark assignments but it was encouraging to know that I could expect to receive a good amount of responsibility in the team.
As the seat progressed my main responsibilities would be to carry out the initial work for a matter (e.g. the first review or the first draft) for my supervisor to then check, and if happy, send out to the client.
As a trainee I did not scope, estimate or bill any matters, however I would keep an eye on the fees for matters I was working on and alert my supervisor if we were getting closer to what was initially quoted.