During the last few weeks of their training contracts, some of the final seat trainees share some advice:
Alex: Choosing and securing your NQ role can be stressful but don't rush either aspect. It is an important decision and process that ultimately starts at the beginning of your training contract. Think carefully about where you want to be, what you want to do, and always utilise the input of your colleagues across the firm. That way, once you sign on the dotted line, it's an incredible feeling!
Lucy: Embrace every part of your training contract. Even though I am qualifying back into an area in which I have a great deal of paralegal experience, I think that I have built an incredible skill set by embracing each of my seats, including those in areas I never thought I would try. I've also learnt so much by getting stuck into a range of pro bono work. It's your only chance to "try before you buy" for where you want to qualify so my advice would be to really make the most of every minute!
Rosie: Two years goes by in a flash. Whilst the end goal is to qualify into your chosen area, you should enjoy the experience and make the most of trainee life. Being a trainee throws up all kinds of opportunities, not least being able to try out a range of practice areas. My advice would be to get involved with the things that interest you and use the time to work out what you can see yourself doing for the rest of your career (but don't stress if that decision takes you a little while)!
Caitlin: Don't go into your training contract with blinkers on – the seat you end up being passionate about may not be the area of law you always pictured yourself in. In order to absorb all that you can as a trainee, you need to be completely open-minded and willing to try anything. Jump at all the challenges thrown at you, as making mistakes is all part of the learning curve.
Michael: It is often the seat that you initially disregard or have doubts about that turns out to be the one that you enjoy most. The day to day of what you are doing matters the most – if you don't enjoy that, then don't go into that area of law. Also try to keep abreast of how your chosen area may change in the future. Most importantly of all though, find something that you can lose yourself in and that you enjoy.
Jack: I am not quite sure where the last two years have gone! The training contract has gone by quickly, but the time has been filled with opportunity. I could not stress enough the importance of being pro-active – the firm will provide foundations and support but it is imperative that you lead the way to achieve your goals. Along the way you will no doubt find open doors that you did not expect as well as the chance to build important relationships.