In our Back to the Future campaign, we're putting expectation up against reality when it comes to Trainee seats. In this edition, Sanchita Agrawal (first-year Trainee) and Jamie Rhodes (second-year Trainee) compare notes.
Sanchita: What skills do you think will be important for your training contract?
I think time management and prioritisation will be most important. I have already noticed that as a trainee, you are allocated tasks from different people in your team, and it is very important to be able to manage the work based on the time it will take and prioritise based on urgency.
To that end, communication will be key to let the rest of the team know what is keeping me busy and when I expect to have things done by.
Jamie: What skills have been most important for your training contract?:
At risk of being clichéd, I think people skills have been essential during the first year of my training contract. Being nice to people, whether clients or colleagues, not only makes work much more enjoyable but also may benefit you when you are in a tight spot.
The other key skill has been hard work. There is no substitute for it. It is even more appreciated when you work hard with a smile on your face.
Sanchita: What do you think will be most difficult?
The steep learning curve at the beginning of each seat. I think getting used to not just a new area of law, but new people and a new way of doing things every 6 months will be most testing.
Jamie: What has been the most difficult moment so far?
Sitting in a meeting room surrounded by piles of paper at 12.30am on a Saturday morning seemed pretty tough at the time. Especially when the rest of the trainees were out having fun and then made worse when all the printers stopped working!
Sanchita: What are you most looking forward to?
Experiencing different departments and meeting new people, and hopefully figuring out where I would like to qualify.
Jamie: What has been your best moment so far?
Strangely, being part of the High Court case which caused me a few late nights (including "my most difficult moment" above). I was very lucky to have opportunity to experience a "set-piece" trial and learn from some very talented lawyers during both the preparation and the trial itself.
Sanchita: Which seat do you think will be your favourite?
I want to go into each seat with an open mind. I am really enjoying my first seat so far, but am also really excited to gain experience in other areas of law.
Jamie: Was the seat you thought would be your favourite actually your favourite?
I didn't have any preconceptions about which seats I thought would be my favourite and I have enjoyed both my first year seats. What my first year has confirmed is that I want to be involved in some aspect of sport law.
Sanchita: What non-fee earning activities are you looking to get involved in at HK?
I am keen to get involved with Pro Bono. I think it will be a great way to gain experience in areas that I may not have opportunity to undertake a seat in. So far, I have taken part in the Sports Day and am really looking forward to similar events.
Jamie: What non fee-earning activities have you been involved with at Howard Kennedy?
I have been involved with HK's Sport group and I am part of the Trainee Editorial Board. I also co-founded both the Trainee Social Committee with Jack O'Shea and a firm-wide Respect & Inclusion Committee. I have assisted with a number of business development events and conferences held by the firm; the best of these was the Business-Crime event held at Bounce. I have also played tag-rugby for the HK team set up by Charlotte Towerton. It has been a busy year.
Sanchita: Why did you choose HK for your training contract?
I was previously a paralegal at the firm and found the people at the firm to be very friendly and supportive, which helps to put us at ease when it comes to approaching people to ask questions or for help.
Jamie: What have been your impressions of Howard Kennedy after a year at the Firm?
Pretty similar to the impressions I had before joining Howard Kennedy. Everyone says it but that is because it is true; the people at HK are its greatest asset. Everyone is friendly, sociable and willing to help. HK is also on an upward trajectory; it is an exciting place to work with new faces bringing fresh enthusiasm and drive to the firm.