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7 August 2017 0 Comments
Posted in Careers, Opinion

In the last seat of your training contract? What next?

Posted by , Trainee Solicitor

By the time you have made it to your last seat that really big question that’s been lingering in the back of your mind for the past 18 months has well and truly pushed its way to the forefront … which department do you want to qualify in?

You have secured the training contract (yay!), made it through your first seat (phew), settled in during your second (you’ve got this) and breezed through your third (well, relatively speaking). By the time you have made it to your last seat that really big question that’s been lingering in the back of your mind for the past 18 months has well and truly pushed its way to the forefront … which department do you want to qualify in?

You might have had a very clear idea of where you wanted to qualify right from the offset; or you might have had an inkling of which area you prefer, or you may even have been open to experiencing all four seats before coming to a decision.

I fell into the third category of trainees but at Royds Withy King I have been fortunate enough to have been exposed to a variety of work in four very different seats (Commercial Property, Family, Dispute Resolution and Corporate & Commercial) and that exposure was key when it came to making my decision. At Royds Withy King, trainees are also handed responsibility from the very start, this together with the supervision of training partners, support from fee earners and regular chats with allocated ‘training buddies’ meant that I was very well placed to make a decision towards the end of my training contract.

If you are still undecided or wondering where to start when considering that all important question of where to qualify, the following pointers may provide some food for thought.

Contentious or non-contentious?

If bundling is where you find your bliss and sitting behind counsel in court, taking in all of the action first hand, is your happy place then contentious work may be where your interests lie.

If you have an eye for detail and don’t mind getting your hands dirty trying to secure the best deal for your client, whilst walking that fine line with the other side, where you are pushy enough to get what you need for your client but not so pushy that you alienate the other party and the whole deal falls out of bed, then non-contentious work may be more your cup of tea.

Keep an open mind

Even the trainees who start out with a clear idea of where they would like to qualify can be swayed in a completely different direction. So venture out of that comfort zone, speak to colleagues in different departments and volunteer to get involved in firm life as much as possible, you may just surprise yourself.

…. most importantly, do what makes you happy

Identify what gives you a buzz, which seat ended all too quickly, when you left the office at the end of the day feeling like you had really accomplished something, and you may just have found the area you want to qualify in.

“Where did you choose to qualify?” I hear you ask.

Ok you’re probably not that interested but please indulge me a few moments longer. My chosen area turned out to be Commercial Property. No one was more surprised than me when I realised that I like nothing better than sitting with a cup of coffee and opening up a brand new draft lease to review, (#PleaseDontJudgeMe).

The fact that I would be joining the hugely talented and brilliant Commercial Property team in our London office only reinforced my decision. Yes, that was some not so subtle brown nosing right there in the hope that it will earn me some points when I start my NQ position in September, when I’m sure I’ll have a whole new set of challenges to look forward to. In the meantime, I wish you luck with your training contract and hope that you find an area that you look forward to qualifying in too.

If you have any questions, you can get in touch at askatrainee@roydswithyking.com

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