Trainee Solicitor, Melanie Christodoulou, discusses the second year of her training contract

Q. Are you in year 1 or 2 of your training contract, which seats have worked in to date and where are you now?

I am in my second year of training and have worked in the following seats:

  • Seat 1 – Vulnerable Client
  • Seats 2 & 3 – Dispute Resolution
  • Seat 4 – Private Trusts and Estate Planning

Q. What does your typical day as a trainee solicitor look like?

As a trainee in the Private Trusts and Estate Planning Team, my day involves dealing with individuals as opposed to businesses.  I get to know individual clients personally, such as their family background, in order to build a trusting relationship with them.  I mainly draft Wills and LPAs and also assist with the administration of estates.

Q.  What have been your trainee solicitor highlights so far?

A highlight so far is getting to see a Property case in Dispute Resolution through to the end. As I spent a year in the Disputes Team, I was lucky enough to be involved from the outset, so I learnt how to deal with the Property Tribunal, Counsel, and the other party, as well as manage my client’s expectations as the case progressed.

Q.  What interesting challenges have you faced whilst on your solicitor training contract?

A challenge I have faced is weighing up client needs and prioritising these when court deadlines are looming.

Q.  Has your perception of the legal sector changed since being a trainee solicitor and if so how?

My perception of the legal sector has changed; you need to weigh up throughout your training contract whether you wish to be a contentious or non-contentious solicitor, as these roles differ immensely in demands and the type of work you will be engaged in, as well as whether you will be working as a team or individually.

Q.  What training and support have you received whilst being a trainee solicitor?

I have obtained a great deal of support from NQ’s and my fellow trainees.

Q.  What was your perception of Furley Page Solicitors prior to joining us and has that changed and met your expectations – if not, why not?

My perception of Furley Page Solicitors prior to joining was that the firm valued the close relationships it formed with its local clients, as well as its staff.  This was important to me, as there was an emphasis on community and feeling valued as a team member.  My perception has not changed; what you see is what you get!

Q.  Are there any misconceptions about being a trainee solicitors which you can now set the record straight on?

Being a trainee in a regional firm does not involve merely administrative tasks; you get to participate in client meetings, run your own cases (under supervision) and network with clients at business events.

Q.  Was it a difficult transition from class room to office, in terms of applying your legal knowledge to real life clients?

As much as the LPC aims to prepare you for your training, the law is forever evolving.  The training contract is a continuous learning experience.  Legal knowledge builds with practice and involves commercial awareness as well as legal theory.

Q.  Final words ……. Anything else you would like to say that might help someone considering applying for a training contract with Furley Page?

Make sure you have thought carefully about the type of law firm you wish to work for.  High street, regional, national and international firms all vary in the type of work conducted and the responsibilities you will be given.  Furley Page’s reputation is one built on local clients and business links within the Kent region.

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