A day in the life of a Trainee SolicitorPepperells
My name is Adam and I am a Trainee Solicitor in the Family Law Team at Pepperells Solicitors. I hold a First Class Degree in Law from the University of Lincoln along with an award for the Best Student in Family Law from my time at University. Being a Trainee Solicitor in the Family Team means that I am familiar with a contentious area of the law. This means that attending Court hearings is a regular feature of my working week. Within the Family Law Department, I work in the Child Care Team representing clients where the Local Authority have issued Public Law Proceedings in respect of a child or children.
Here is a day in my life.
8:55 – I work the more ‘traditional’ shift here at Pepperells, that being 9:00am – 5:30pm. Upon arriving at the office, I review any emails that have come in outside my working hours and action them if required, usually taking around 15 minutes.
9:15 – It is very common for me to have a Court hearing listed for 10am. Therefore, pre-hearing discussions will take place from 9:15am until 10:00am. Pre-hearing discussions allows all the respective advocates from a case to discuss their respective client’s positions and outline what matters are agreed and what matters are to be litigated on. During these discussions, advocates take regular breaks to obtain their client’s instructions on points that have arisen during the discussion.
10.00 – Attend Court. As the majority of Court hearings are still being conducted via remote means, the Court will ‘dial-in’ the parties and their advocates just before 10:00am. If the hearing is being conducted via a video platform, all parties will have been sent the link to join the hearing at least 24 hours before. My hearings usually last anywhere between 1 to 3 hours. Prior to the hearing, the Judge will have been provided with a case summary from the Applicant so will be aware of the facts of the case. The Judge will start by establishing whether the position remains the same as that within the case summary. The Judge will then allow the parties to make their respective submissions. At the end of the hearing, the Judge will outline the way in which the case is to proceed. This includes identifying any filing dates for evidence, general timetabling of the case and establishing a date for the next hearing.
12:00 – After Court, it is important that your client understands the stage of the case and what the next steps are. Therefore, this time is usually spent drafting an outcome of hearing letter and discussing the outcome of the hearing with the client. This time is also spent updating my diary with key dates identified in the hearing that morning. A failure to comply with Court directions can effect the overall timetable so you have to be organised!
13.00 – Lunch. Given that I am not physically attending Court due to the Covid-19 pandemic, I am not leaving the office to attend Court in person. Therefore, at lunch I will leave my desk and go out into the Town Centre.
14:00 – This time is usually spent in an afternoon Court hearing. However, on days where this is not the case, I have client appointments from 2pm until 4pm. These appointments are commonly used for drafting documents and advising clients. Whilst my role is heavily based on advocacy, there is large amount of administrative work that goes into running your own cases so it is vital that this does not get left behind.
16.00 – As the Courts do not sit beyond 4:00pm, ‘Advocates Meetings’ are commonly arranged for this time. In a similar fashion to ‘Pre-Hearing Discussions’, these meetings are attended by all advocates involved in a case. However, these meetings usually take place at least 2 working case before the next hearing. Advocates meetings are commonly used to consider the evidence of each party, identifying further documents that may need to be disclosed into the proceedings and discussing the need for any expert evidence.
5:00 – The last 30 minutes of my day is spent organising my papers for the following day and refreshing my-self with any factual or legal matters that need to be litigated on in Court the following day. In addition to this, I will speak with my Supervisor, a director at the firm, to discuss an queries I have and to review any work where necessary.
5:30 – Leave the office. Once I am home, the evenings are usually spent studying for my Legal Practice Course and Masters Degree in Law readiness for Law School at the weekend.