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My Training Contract Journey So Far: My First Three Months As A Trainee Solicitor

I began my training contract in September 2023, and I am currently sitting in the firm’s Medical Negligence department. I am now almost halfway through my first seat and the experience I have gained so far has been invaluable.

I am assisting Dawn Treloar, Partner in the Medical Negligence team, with her high value and complex case load. My work varies from liaising with medical experts about their reports to reviewing medical records for clients. I have drafted chronologies, dealt with disclosure of documents in readiness of service and attended a settlement approval hearing.

In my first few weeks as a trainee, I attended a case management meeting with a client and a conference with Counsel and medical experts which allowed me to gain an insight into the complexity of medical negligence claims and understand the client’s needs.

Additionally, I feel that there is a good work/life balance as a trainee at Hodge Jones & Allen. The firm hosts a range of events to support various causes such as cerebral palsy and I have had the opportunity to attend and help in some of the events such as The Bobath Centre Charity Quiz which allowed me to network with different barristers whilst also socialising with my team.

The past 3 months have been enjoyable as I have been able to work in such a supportive team which makes my training experience that much better. I have had a high level of client contact which allows me to really get involved in the files and increase my understanding of what life as a Medical Negligence solicitor will entail.

Although I am just starting out in my journey as a trainee solicitor, I have learnt a great deal so far and have set out below my top tips.

1. Organise your task list

It is important to keep up to date with your task list and to keep your supervisor informed as to your capacity. It is not unusual to have to complete tasks on the same day and manage your task list accordingly. Updating your task list daily is a useful way to keep on top of your tasks. It is always a good habit to ask when a task is due as it will allow you to organise your day effectively.

2. Drafting skills

Fine tuning your drafting skills is essential during your journey as a trainee solicitor. Firms generally have precedents in their case management systems which can be a useful guide. After I receive feedback on any documents I draft, I keep my own precedent bank so that I can refer to it when I carry out similar tasks.

A useful tip is, if possible, to get another member of the team to have a read over your work or alternatively, print out the document and proofread it as this may help you spot minor errors which were not easily noticeable on the computer.

3. Keep up to date with your training record.

It is very important to keep up to date with your training record. At the end of each week, I fill out my training record with details of each task that I have done and what I have learnt from it. This is a useful way to not only keep on top of your training record but also gain an insight into the value of the experience you are gaining and to identify what further learning is required.

4. Ask questions!

The training contract is a great opportunity to learn and ask as many questions as possible. I have personally found it useful to clarify the tasks with my supervisor as it enables me to fully understand the task I have been given.

Asking questions is the best way to make the most out of your experience.

Overall, my experience so far in my first seat is incredibly positive and I am looking forward to seeing what the next three months will bring.

Further informations about our trainee programme are here

Further Reading
HJA Trainee Programme