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A year in the life of a trainee

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A year in the life of a trainee

A year in the life of a trainee

Take a look at my year as a trainee at EMW! 

My journey with EMW started in the summer of 2015, when I spent an interesting and eye-opening week with the firm as a vacation scheme student. I immediately fell in love with EMW’s fresh approach and the friendliness with which I was welcomed into their various teams. After really enjoying the “hands on” quality of the vacation scheme placement provided by EMW, I decided to apply for a training contract, which I secured not long after.

In September 2017, two years after my placement, I was both excited and nervous to start my training contract. Although I had to relocate to Milton Keynes and leave my home and friends back in Oxford, the fact that I had already met most of my colleagues during my vacation scheme made the transition infinitely easier. As I remembered, everyone was incredibly welcoming, helpful and friendly. The new trainees were straight away invited to a lot of social and networking events, which helped us break out of our comfort zones, meet like-minded people and have a bit of fun!

My first seat, Real Estate, was incredibly varied. Despite my relative lack of practical experience, I was immediately entrusted with difficult and complex tasks (such as drafting different agreements, title reports, letters of advice and planning risk assessments) which I managed to complete in an effective manner due to the high level of feedback and supervision. This seat gave me the perfect opportunity to develop important transferable skills such as attention to detail, commercial awareness, drafting, time and workload management and most importantly: prioritising.

Half way through my Real Estate seat, I volunteered to represent the firm at Law South’s Annual Mooting competition, with one of my colleagues. The competition simulated a court hearing in which participants were asked to act as counsel for the claimant or defendant by analysing certain legal problems stemming from two given factual scenarios. In preparation for the moot, we had to analyse two complex appeal cases, research the relevant legislation and case law and prepare oral submissions. The Moot began with the judge entering the “court room” and bowing to the mooters, following which the participants made their oral submissions and answered questions from the judge. Once the judge heard everyone’s submissions, he delivered a short judgement and feedback. Although the competition was both nerve-wracking and exciting, I can truly say that it made me a more comfortable public speaker. This experience helped me understand the importance of engaging with the bench by speaking with the appropriate volume and pace, responding directly and accurately to questions, holding the judge’s interest and applying propositions of law to the facts of the case in order to argue the result you want.

After six amazing months in Real Estate, it was time to move to my next seat: Employment. I immediately experienced a change of pace, due to the high pressure and excitement of tribunal cases and the fast turnaround required for the relevant transactional work. In my very first week in the department, I was asked to attend and assist with a high profile tribunal case by sitting behind counsel, taking accurate notes and generally helping the relevant fee earners. This allowed me to gain invaluable contentious experience, interact with clients, counsel and judges and develop an accurate understanding of the logistics of tribunal cases. There was no time to get bored in Employment as no two days were truly the same. My workload varied from drafting witness statements, grounds of resistance and assisting with tribunal cases to drafting service contracts, workplace policies and letters of advice. Despite the high levels of responsibility, I never felt overwhelmed or unprepared as I was always closely supervised and encouraged to reach my full potential.

Overall, it has been a busy and exciting year developing my experience and learning more and I am looking forward to starting my second year of traineeship with EMW!

To find out more about our training contracts and what it’s like to work here, please see our Join our Family page.