The key skill I learned during my training contract was to be adaptable. As a trainee I worked with a variety of personalities and working styles, and moved from one department to another. I also had to learn to be extremely organised and methodical, which is key when trying to stay on top of your inbox and to-do list with a significant workload.
In my time as a trainee, the best piece of advice I was given was to take ownership of things I was working on, not only doing what I’d been asked, but always considering how I could go one step further to make my work more useful for the team overall. You need to ask questions so that you can understand how the tasks you have been given fit into the deal as a whole.
Since becoming an associate, my level of responsibility has increased significantly and I now manage a lot of my own matters. The team is incredibly collaborative though and there are plenty of people I can turn to should I need guidance or advice, regardless of whether they’re associates or partners. There is a lot of knowledge sharing and colleagues are constantly bouncing ideas off each other.
My advice to anyone thinking of applying for a training contract would be to look very closely at the departments within the firm, the type of work they do and their client base, and decide whether these align with your own interests. Look at the structure of the training contract itself and how you would be able to gain experience in your areas of interest. Lastly, speak to as many people as you can at university events, law fairs and open days to try and get a feel for the different cultures at various firms. Then, you can decide which is the right fit for you.