What does my typical day look like?
Most days start off with a one to one meeting with the supervising Associate Solicitor to review the work I completed the previous day and to also talk through my ‘to do list’. She will give thorough feedback on what I have done and look at my work load to check that it is manageable. If the tasks I am given are particularly difficult, she will point me in the right direction, for example, where I can find the most useful precedent.
Private Client is particularly client focused which means there are at least two meetings to sit in on each day. The meetings can be anything from taking Will instructions to giving tax advice or assisting people on probate matters. Given the level of meetings it has been essential for me to keep on top of my time management to make sure important documents are drafted despite a day full of meetings.
What has been my trainee highlight so far?
I got the opportunity to sit in on a conference with counsel assisting the head of the team advising clients on the interpretation of an earlier Will. It enabled me to understand how people interpret Wills differently which could cause obstacles when it comes to the administration of an estate later on. I think it was vital for me to understand the potential difficulties that can arise early on in my career and it was interesting to see how a senior barrister put the advice across.
What interesting challenges have I faced while being a trainee?
Within the Private Client team I have had to arrange funerals and then deal with the probate for deceased clients who have no family members. This has been particularly challenging as is it up to us to obtain information about the deceased and deal with their estate by looking through their papers.
Has your perception of the legal sector changed since being a trainee and if so, how?
Prior to becoming a trainee I worked in the firm’s Family team for almost 4 years and so my perception has not changed much. It has changed in terms of time management because you are given information on the hours you have worked as a trainee which prepares you for life as a fee earner with a target.
What training/support have I received while being a trainee?
The training and mentoring that I have received so far has been far more than what I initially expected given that solicitors have their own caseload to deal with as well as guiding trainees. My supervisor ensures that I am always busy and to use my own initiative to keep a matter running smoothly yet at the same time is very approachable. During our morning meetings we identify areas where I can improve as well as identifying my strengths within the team.
What was your perception of Furley Page prior to joining us and has that changed/met your expectations – if not why not?
Prior to joining Furley Page I saw it as one of the most elite firms in the South East, being able to provide specialist advice due to the expertise of the people employed. Having now been with the firm for almost 5 years, I can say with confidence that Furley Page is able to offer such advice because of the level of training and support that employees receive, regardless of what stage of their career they are in. Teams often come together to view webinars as a whole so that it can be discussed afterwards and they usually attend courses out of the office.
Are there any misconceptions about being a trainee which you can now set the record straight on?
I think many law students envisage their training contract will consist of low level work with not much supervision. However, a trainee at Furley Page is given important tasks to carry out on partners’ matters with their guidance and supervision from day one. Furley Page recognises that their trainees are possible future partners of the firm which is why trainees’ development is taken very importantly.
Was it a difficult transition from class room to office in terms of applying your legal knowledge to real life clients?
I found the jump from university to the Family team at Furley Page to be huge simply because a degree is more academic whereas the Legal Practice Course is very practical and I found that to be more helpful to my role in the office and working with clients than my law degree.