My first week as a trainee solicitor

Having completed my Diploma in Professional Legal Practice over zoom, I was not new to the idea of working from home for my traineeship. I worked at McSherry Halliday during the summers of 2017, 2018 and 2019 as an intern and got a taste of working in the office. I have worked from home with the firm since April as a legal assistant to the conveyancing team. I am grateful for the two months prior to starting my traineeship as this provided me with time to refresh my memory on the software and workings of the firm. Without this introductory period, I believe that my first week as a trainee would have been dedicated to finding my feet in the software.

At present, my week is split between conveyancing for three days, and commercial conveyancing for two days. I start my day at 8am. After having breakfast, I will practice yoga or go for a walk. I then get myself ready for a 9am start. I log onto my laptop, check my emails and review my to-do-list, which I write the night before. I will reply to my emails and update my clients with any advancements on their case.

I have numerous residential purchase and sale cases and I try to prioritise the cases with upcoming settlements. Yet, naturally, other tasks and cases will require my attention. In these instances, I will write a note of the case I was working on and aim to come back to it later in the day or the following morning. My daily tasks vary from drafting missives, reviewing titles to properties, drafting tax returns and preparing cash statements. I have found checklists to be extremely useful during busy settlement periods. Checklists keep me on track with each individual case, as there can often be an overlap with similar cases.

One thing that I am very much an advocate for, is mental health. Undoubtedly, a career in the legal sector can be demanding and stressful. And working from home does not hold the same social element which working in an office does. That is why I try to go for a walk during my lunch breaks to stretch my legs and to give my brain and eyes some time to relax. When the inevitable Scottish rain falls, I remove myself from my desk and will spend time with my family and my dog during my lunch break.

My first week as a trainee has emphasised that even if you are organised for a settlement, or with a case in general, other tasks or influences can disrupt the flow of your day. This can then add more pressure to the case. However, my supervisors and colleagues have been extremely supportive and reachable for when I require advice and guidance. I believe that every day is a learning day, and I am looking forward to developing new skills throughout my traineeship at McSherry Halliday.