A day in the life of a Solicitor ApprenticePepperells
My name is Dan and I am a Solicitor Apprentice in the Family Law Team and Pepperells Solicitors. Being an Apprentice, I am currently undertaking my LLB Law Degree with Northumbria University alongside my work here at Pepperells. The work involved within the area of Family Law is both diverse and varied with no two days being the same. Whilst this may sound exciting to many, the spontaneity of work does not come without issue. Those who wish to be able to fix their diaries the working day before and plan their time accordingly may wish to stop reading now!
This is a typical day in my life:
8:30 – The day begins: I aim to be at my desk by now, but the reality of busy city centre traffic results in a usual 8:45am start to my working day. On arriving at the office, there are two things that must be fulfilled, regardless of the schedule ahead – reviewing emails and making a strong coffee.
9:00 – Prioritise and draft: I aim to use my morning time to identify and prioritise tasks that must be completed within specific time periods, ranking them in terms of urgency. By way of example, on Monday evening, a client contacted me with significant and serious concerns in respect of the welfare of their child. Given the urgency, this time was used to draft an urgent application to the Court requesting that the children be removed from the other parent’s care.
10:00 – Court: This is the golden time for Court Appointments and it is not often that a Judge or the Magistrates will have this time available in their diaries. Given that I am still fairly early in my training, representing clients at Court remains a new and quite rare part of my working day. Court hearings, at present, are almost entirely being undertaken remotely owing to the Covid-19 pandemic. This means that, at the allotted time, the Court will usually contact parties via telephone with a view to hearing the case without having people physically attend the Court building. There are certain rules and regulations, known as Practice Directions, which should be complied with prior to the Court Appointment taking place. I therefore spend some considerable time, around 3 working days before the hearing, ensuring all preliminary documents are fully prepared and have been provided to the Court in readiness for the hearing.
12:00 – Speak with counsel/client: If, for a particular reason, we have instructed a barrister to represent a client at Court in place of either myself or a colleague, I aim to speak with the barrister soon after the hearing so that I am fully aware of decisions made and the effect of the same. Owing to the large Family Team here at Pepperells, there is usually at least one member in-house who is able to cover a Court hearing. Having spoken with the representative, I will spend some time drafting a letter to the client confirming the outcome of the hearing, the effect of any orders made and what the appropriate next steps to take are.
13:00 – Lunch: This usually involves taking a stroll to the local sandwich shop, although part of our #PeppsPerks is that we have an amazingly delicious restaurant to enjoy some food and a timeout!
14:00 – Client appointment: At Pepperells, we offer fixed fee advice appointments for up to 1 hour of advice for £100 plus VAT. This includes the advice given orally in that appointment, which is later followed up in writing with a view to assisting the client further with their legal needs. My appointments range from divorce and financial separation issues, child contact issues between separated parents to less contentious work such as a Change of Name Deed. Following the appointment, I spend some time preparing the client care letter and setting out the advice I have given in writing.
16:00 – Supervision: As an Apprentice, a degree of supervision is required to ensure the work I am producing is of a good quality and that all advice given is, in fact, accurate and correct. I therefore use this time to speak with my supervising solicitor about upcoming tasks. Preparing documents independently and thereafter having the feedback of a supervising solicitor is, in my opinion, an invaluable way to learn and progress. I utilise this time to make the most of my training.
17:00 – Time to organise: Having had in depth discussions with my supervisor, I collate my ‘to do’ tasks for the next day and deal with any outstanding emails that I have not had the opportunity to respond to earlier in the day. I aim to leave work with a clear head and on time, so the remaining 30 minutes of my day is quite fast paced to ensure there are few, if any, outstanding matters for the next morning – this is, however, often unavoidable. 17:30 – Home time: I leave the office and walk to my car before sitting in rush hour traffic for around 1 hour. As I am doing my LLB Law Degree alongside my work at Pepperells, my evenings are often spent watching lectures and preparing for workshops/seminars for the following week.