My first month at Royds Withy King; through the lens of a runner
Trainee solicitor Matthew Vincent wanted to write something a little different about his experiences during his first month at Royds Withy King. As an enthusiastic runner, using one of his passions as a metaphor for another, his work, seemed like the perfect answer.
Getting to the Start Line
Being nervous before the start of a marathon is normal for most runners. After all that preparation and hard work, are you going to be any good at all? That is exactly how I felt in the days and weeks before I started at Royds Withy King. After years of dreaming and years of studying, would I have a successful training contract and would I make a positive impression? These were the questions I could not get out of my mind.
On the Start Line
Whilst those questions may not be answered for some time, I certainly haven’t given them too much thought since I started. The buddy system at Royds Withy King allowed me to settle many of my ‘pre-race nerves’ before I had even begun. John Nevin, my buddy, met with me a week before I started and introduced me to my team, answered my questions and explained the work I would be doing in more detail. Throughout my first month, John has been there to answer my questions and explain things to me, with the amount of questions gradually reducing every day as I settle into my first seat.
On my second day I experienced the social side of life at the firm. End of month drinks on the last Friday of each month give trainees a chance to chat with colleagues from other departments that we might not otherwise meet. Again, this really helped me get into my stride and feel like part of the wider team.
During my first full week I was given various tasks that introduced me to dispute resolution and to the practices of the firm. Each day my tasks got more complex and I was given more responsibility. By the end of my first full week I was even asked to go to visit a client alone and take a statement from him. Although this and many of the other tasks were daunting at first, they helped me to learn quickly and feel like a valued member of the firm from the outset.
Now, after all my introductions and questions, I was ready to start the race!
The first 5km
Much like the first 5km of a marathon, the first month here has gone by in a flash. I have been so busy learning and working that until now, I hadn’t had a chance to sit down and reflect on what has happened.
There is no doubt that the quality and variety of work I have been exposed to in my first month has been excellent. In only my first week I met a client alone and during my third week I went to a trial with counsel and a client. Throughout my first month I have been to several hearings, learning how to take concise notes for the partners. I have also been asked to draft legal documents, issue new claims and conduct legal research, each time learning new skills and gaining valuable experience. Whilst I have become familiar with the photocopier in my first month, I have been incredibly surprised by the amount of high quality tasks I have been given, such as drafting.
The Rest of the Race
I have so much to look forward to in the coming months as a trainee. I am excited for the remainder of my dispute resolution seat, continuing to get exposure to challenging and contentious law. Beyond that, I am eager to learn from my following three seats, each promising to give me access to new methods of working and areas of law.
Outside of work, I am participating with colleagues in our firm wide office to office walk and half-marathon to raise money for our nominated charities, something the firm encourages trainees to engage in.
Currently I am only just starting my marathon and although I have loved every second so far, I have a long journey ahead of me. No doubt there will be challenges ahead, but isn’t that why we aspire to be solicitors in the first place? Hopefully, with each stride forward my confidence and effectiveness as a trainee will grow.