Meet Our Trainees
How did you feel about the prospect of starting your training contract remotely and how have you found it in reality?
The prospect of starting my training contract remotely heightened every fear and apprehension of starting a new job. I was nervous about many potential scenarios; from WIFI failing on me during important calls, to feeling stuck on a task and being too nervous to call my supervisors in fear of interrupting them during something important. It is undoubtedly much easier to lean over your desk to ask for help in an office than it is to do when working from home. EMW have made remote working as comfortable as they possibly could have done. Unsurprising, however, I am very excited to join the office. I am looking forward to fully enjoying graduate life and socialising with everyone that I have only met through video call so far. What I am most looking forward to is EMW’s annual welcome dinner for the trainees, that has been postponed for when restrictions ease.
Joining the firm during a period of remote working would have likely felt more daunting in hindsight – however, I was lucky enough to be on a vacation scheme at the firm before going through the interview process, so I had the chance to see what working in the office was like beforehand. I found it a positive experience, as there was time to get to know trainees, invitations to know-how sessions and plenty of different work I was encouraged to have a go at! I left mine knowing for certain that I wanted to complete my training contract at EMW. It made the prospect of joining the firm less daunting and was helpful in that I’d made one or two connections with people in the firm beforehand. Working remotely of course has been a severe challenge, but the firm has been fantastic in trying to keep people engaged with regular catch-up calls and group meetings – despite not meeting with many of my colleagues I feel like I know them well!
I completely agree with Olivia and Meer, the prospect of starting my training contract remotely was slightly daunting. I was mindful that law in practice is very different from law in academia so the prospect of working from home in this new work environment did make me feel apprehensive. However, everyone has been so welcoming and understanding of the challenges of remote working. The remote ‘open door’ policy was evident from our first day which definitely made me much less nervous.
What are your reflections after your first month?
Whilst I started out on individual bits and pieces of work I’m now more likely to be watching a matter go from start to end. I think this is where the training starts to really come through, because you get a lot more of the background and commercial context and the pieces come together more easily.
After reflecting on my first month at EMW, it has been a very positive experience. Despite remote working, the direct and clear supervision provided by the team is incredible. From the start, I was immediately getting stuck into pieces of work for different members of the team and learning so much every day. I could tell that the ‘EMW family’ were not just words appearing on their website, but how the firm felt in real life.
I joined Commercial Contracts, Technology and Data Protection during a particularly busy month. This played to my advantage, as I have been exposed to a great variety of work during a short time. Video calls have filled the gaps that I thought may hinder my training experience; I have attended numerous calls with clients and attended meetings with instructed counsel, as well as daily catch ups with my own team.
What’s the learning experience been like?
The training has been incredibly positive – you need to have a mix of being confident enough to take a stab at things and being unafraid to ask questions, whilst humble enough to expect that a lot of what you do from the start will be corrected as you develop your skillset. I’ve found that our supervisors encourage taking initiative to find projects and are very willing to sit down with you over a half-hour to properly go through how and why specific pieces of work are done the way they are.
I feel that the LPC has certainly provided me with key skills to undertake this sort of work, however every single day is a learning experience. Studying my feedback and comparing my work to that of my supervisor is the most effective way to learn and messing up a first draft never feels embarrassing. Everyone in my team knows that I am here to learn and has been in my shoes before. Academia does not stop here, however - I am also reading a data protection textbook in the evenings.
I am really enjoying the learning experience of my training contract. I have received feedback for all the work that I have completed, which is invaluable for my own development and learning. I have already been involved in such a variety of matters which has given me insight into the breadth of work across the firm. The firm also run internal training sessions which are brilliant for ensuring that our legal knowledge is up to date. Overall, it has been a great start to my training contract, and I am really looking forward to continuing my learning and hopefully meet my colleagues in person soon.
How would you summarise your experience so far in 10 words or less?
Meer: A healthy balance of opportunities, close supervision and good humour!
Sarah: A fantastic learning experience surrounded by supportive colleagues.
Olivia: Positively challenging and super fun every day.
We involve our trainees in everything; we really want them to gain the widest experience they can during their training, so we give them a high level of work responsibility from the start, enabling and supporting them with this level of responsibility is what makes us different from other firms.
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