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Published On: August 26, 2022 | Blog | 0 comments

Seeing the Wood for the Trees – From Trainee to Newly Qualified Solicitor at Anthony Gold

September is a time of change and this is especially true in the legal profession as firms take on fresh- faced trainees, first year trainees change seats and second year trainees take that long awaited step to fully fledged solicitor.

Transitioning from trainee to newly qualified solicitor (NQ) is a defining moment in one’s career. While exciting, it can also come with a surprising amount of apprehension. As a recently qualified solicitor I thought now would be a good time to share my experience working at Anthony Gold.


Joining Anthony Gold

I started my training contract in September 2020. I was drawn to Anthony Gold as I had an interest in litigation and in particular in personal injury law, for which they have a top tier ranking. I was also really struck by their ethical stance regarding practising law. Another reason I applied to this firm was because of their retention rates, a consideration which, two-years on, has certainly paid off as the firm continues to invest in my development, the value of which cannot be overstated to those beginning their career.


Training Seats

Here at Anthony Gold you usually undertake two year-long seats instead of four at 6 months each, which is especially helpful in that it gives you the time needed to get to grips with the department, the work and to establish a relationship with clients; as a partner once said to me “It takes about six months before you become useful!”. I did my first seat in the Injury and Medical Claims (IMC) team, where I had the opportunity to assist on a range of complex, high-value personal injury claims, including a number of traumatic brain injury cases. I also had the opportunity to take over the day-to-day conduct of two less complex road traffic accident claims, one of which I had the pleasure of settling before moving on to my second seat.

This was in the Housing and Property Disputes team working on disrepair, eviction and homelessness matters for both individual and group claims. Working closely with communities affected by poor safety regulations like those that led to the Grenfell disaster, gave me insight into the value of the firm’s approach to the law and the people it benefits.

I was fortunate enough to be offered an NQ role in the IMC team and was allowed to qualify with time to count in May 2022. I now work closely with our Managing Partner David Marshall and Nick Hanning on a range of cases from occupational stress to clinical negligence and professional negligence.


From trainee to NQ

I often get asked what it’s like, after years of study and training, to finally make the transition to NQ. I think all NQs will agree that the main thing that change is an increase in responsibility; you’re expected to progress your case load and make decisions with reduced supervision and the phrase “attention to detail” seems to take on a whole new meaning. In addition to the increased responsibility, you have a whole host of other things you need to be mindful of such as your financial targets, your expense rate, making sure that your time recording is accurate, compliance requirements and developing your ability to network and “win work”.

Altogether, the transition from trainee to NQ can seem overwhelming and it can be hard to see the wood for the trees. Indeed, one of the biggest challenges I found was facing the feeling that having qualified as a solicitor I should now be up and running and able to manage alone. However, despite my initial trepidation, and having now been qualified for four months, I can appreciate that while there will always be something to learn, my training has given me the confidence to handle the NQ role and make a difference for my clients.

As a trainee, my supervisors ensured that I had a lot of client contact, which is still one of the things I most enjoy about my job. This gave me the opportunity to develop my interpersonal skills and build relationships. In particular, trainees often handle new client enquiries which can truly test your soft skills to the limit; often you’re dealing with people who are emotionally distressed, having been involved in an accident or lost a loved one as a result of an accident.

In addition to having great client exposure, the training I received was hands on. I know from friends who have trained elsewhere that they sometimes spent their lives at the photocopying machine. During my training contract I was involved in all aspects of the cases I worked on: liaising with clients, experts and counsel;drafting statements;preparing instructions to experts and counsel and other court documents.

If there were meetings or court hearings I was always encouraged to attend. This put me in good stead for life as an NQ. I think the challenge for me was perhaps trying to piece things together; trainees often tend to work on particular aspects of a file rather than seeing it through from beginning to end, which is natural because you are brought in when cases are at different stages of the litigation process. Once qualified you are expected to run the whole file, or indeed several files at once, and that can make things daunting. But it is important to remember that you are building on what you have learned as a trainee.


Final thoughts

Whilst the jump from trainee to NQ was greater than I thought, it has so far been an incredibly enjoyable experience. In particular, I found that by gaining more responsibility, you relish each accomplishment (however small) that bit more than as a trainee.

My main advice to those coming up to qualification or starting their training contract is to remember that things do not change overnight, and you are not expected to become a legal savant from one day to the next. Expect to keep learning, no matter how thorough your training has been – there will inevitably be new situations to navigate and gaps in your knowledge for many years to come! It is ok to ask for help, and in fact it’s best to ask questions rather than to make mistakes. Finally, it’s important to remember that you have got to where you are through hard work and dedication, and you do know more than you think!

* Disclaimer: The information on the Anthony Gold website is for general information only and reflects the position at the date of publication. It does not constitute legal advice and should not be treated as such. It is provided without any representations or warranties, express or implied.*

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