You’ve landed yourself a training contract and are about to start in your first seat. Understandably, you’re going to be feeling a mix of excitement, nervousness and quiet confidence. There are probably a million different questions you’re asking yourself in your head, one being: How do I impress whilst doing a training contract?
So, without further ado, here are AllAboutLaw’s seven simple ways to impress on a training contract.
Communication is key. Asking questions is a must, to make sure you fully understand the work given to you and what your associate or partner expects from you. However, communication doesn’t stop at questions. Speak to other trainees if you’re stuck on a certain matter. Reach out to colleagues in previous seats or other departments for advice. Communication creates a positive feedback loop. It allows you to do the best work you can whilst also creating opportunities to learn something you wouldn’t have previously.
2. Have good attention to detail
It goes without saying that commercial lawyers are expected to have good attention to detail. Before submitting work, check it once, check it again, and check it a third time just to be sure. Submitting work that impresses creates an element of trust between you and your seniors.
3. Take notes
Take notes and read through them. Your mind should be like a sponge during your training contract. Every meeting or interaction with a partner, associate, or fellow trainee will either tell you something new or confirm something you already knew. You never know when notes you made during your seat in tax will come back to help you in future matters.
4. Work hard
You could be working at one of the world’s leading law firms. They’re going to be expecting a lot from you, even if you are in your first seat as a trainee. Work hard, work intelligently, and pull your weight. You want to be known as being reliable and trustworthy, not an inconsistent slacker.
5. Be proactive
Search for ways you can help your seniors or fellow trainees on a matter or case. If you have completed your set work (bearing in mind our second tip on having good attention to detail) ask for more work or how you can develop on the work you have already done. This will create a good impression amongst your seniors. This isn’t to say take on too much work – this will have the opposite effect and will snow you under, causing work to be late or sloppy.
6. Build your network
Build connections with everyone you meet by adding them on LinkedIn. Attend focus groups or insight meetings during your lunch break too; this helps to build your network of connections and people you can rely on if you need advice or guidance. By following these methods, you will quickly build connections within the firm, but make sure to build connections externally as well, be it clients, lawyers from other firms, or suppliers.
7. Go above and beyond
Everyone tells you to ‘go above and beyond’, but what does such a vague phrase even mean? Here are some examples. You could offer to talk at focus groups or insight meetings if you have noticed a particular trend or development. You could also help the HR and graduate recruitment team attract new trainees and vac schemers to the firm by attending law fairs.
Going above and beyond doesn’t mean work all the hours under the sun in a desperate attempt to portray the idea that you’re busy or a hard grafter. Work intelligently, instead.
If you remember these tips, your training contract will be a great starting point for a promising career in law. Remember, the firm wants you to succeed and you have achieved so much to even get a training contract. If you haven’t got a training contract yet, search for the best opportunities in the UK here.