Family Trainee Solicitor
Alex Hulbert is currently in his third training seat in
the Hodge Jones & Allen Private client team.
8.50am I arrive at Euston Station and begin the
short walk to the office, ready for the day ahead.
9.00am Although we don’t officially start work
until 9.30am, getting in at 9.00am gives me a chance to have a
coffee, talk to my colleagues and make sure that all my admin from
the day before is complete. All of our time is recorded within our
case management system and if you have been out of the office the
previous day then this is a good chance to catch up.
9.15am Before I begin my work I have a catch up
with my supervisor with whom I share an office. This ranges from
some light hearted discussion about current affairs to a more
serious discussion about several upcoming hearings on various files
on which I have been assisting with. I am promised that
a substantial amount of the preparation will find its way
to me shortly (under my supervisor’s close guidance).
9.30am A feature of the training structure at
HJA which I have been particularly impressed by is that you are
actively encouraged, where possible, to run your own caseload as
well as assisting on your supervisor’s more complex files. If a new
client enquiry comes in which you are particularly interested by
then you can discuss this with your supervisor and, if appropriate,
take it on yourself under their supervision. At the moment I have
about eight files in my own name and I have various day to day
tasks to attend to on all of them. I begin about my business of
making phone calls to these clients for instructions and drafting
letters to be checked.
11.30am It’s the last Thursday of the month so
I leave my desk to attend the monthly employee forum. A
representative from every department, plus a representative from
the trainees (currently me) and sometimes from the firm’s marketing
and site management departments all meet in one of our larger
meeting rooms to discuss important developments in the firm. The
meeting is led by one of the firm’s equity partners and our HR
manager and is an open venue for people to raise questions, make
requests and voice opinions. It is an excellent environment to make
sure that everybody in the firm gets a say and is appraised of
important developments within HJA as a business.
1.00pm In more clement weather I might enjoy my
lunch in nearby Regents Park but, since it’s raining, today calls
for a sandwich at my desk. One of the firm’s paralegals comes in to
ask me if I can make a ‘without-notice’ application for her that
afternoon before the District Judge of the day at the Principal
Registry of the Family Division. One of her clients has had his son
discharged from hospital into his care and must make an emergency
application for in interim residence order. I read the
file and set about drafting the application and a short draft
order. My supervisor casts his eye over my drafts and we discuss
some improvements. A few words of encouragement and I’m on my way
with the client and his young son in tow.
2.15pm Application lodged and fee paid, I sign
in and we take our place in the queue. While we wait I talk about
the case with the client and explain to him what will happen when
we are called in; we don’t have to wait for long…
2.50pm After a quick and thankfully successful
application I travel back to the office with the client. I call
down my colleague and we discuss the positive outcome before I
return to my office to dictate a detailed attendance note.
5.45pm There will be no working late tonight as
HJA are hosting a seminar with a well known set of barristers in
the firm’s own private, fully licensed bar. There are four speakers
giving updates on private and public children law, all enjoyed over
a wealth of tasty canapés and drinks.
9.00pm Having thoroughly enjoyed the seminar I
head home reflecting on my day. It’s reasonable to say that not all
days are this busy, and indeed my working hours are generally more
than fair. As I sit on the train I feel satisfied that I was
allowed, and indeed actively encouraged, to take on genuine
responsibility for one of the firm’s clients and relax in the
knowledge that, for now at least, tomorrow promises to be a quieter