Starting your training contract: what to expect from your first few weeks
Before starting my training contract, I had no idea what to expect from my first few weeks and I think had I known, I would have been less nervous. So, with the hope of putting prospective trainees plagued with pre-start jitters at ease, here are the first few weeks of my training contract at Cripps.
Professional Skills Course (PSC)
After completing my LPC and Masters, I distinctly remember the euphoria of submitting my last assessment and thinking; ‘that’s it, I will never have to study again.’ Unfortunately, this is not quite the case. Trainee solicitors are required by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) to complete the PSC during their training contract. The course encompasses three compulsory modules which are assessed over an 8 day period and 24 hours’ worth of electives (of which there is a huge variety).
As a Cripps trainee you will usually complete all 8 days of compulsory PSC modules in your first few weeks. However, because of the pandemic, my cohort was only able to do one of these modules. The Advocacy module occupied our first three days’ of employment; it was a good opportunity to meet the rest of the first year trainees and ease back into legal work without the pressure of real-life legal practice. The course was engaging and practical, with a mini-trial on our final day.
After completing the module, we began our induction period. The induction lasts for two weeks and is full of information (note to self: bring a pen and notebook!). We were given extensive life-saving IT training with resident IT whiz Angie Hattingh, given talks from all areas of the firm and we had informal meetings with the Senior and Managing Partners. This gave us the opportunity to be introduced to the firm and to our first seat teams. It also gave us the chance to consider the wide selection of activities the firm encourages trainees to get involved in.
After the induction period, trainees begin their first seats. We initially started our seats from home and met our teams virtually. Any uncertainty I was feeling about this arrangement was unnecessary; I was given continuous support from my supervisor and I was encouraged by the wider team. The Talent Development Team were also very reassuring; organizing individual calls with trainees to check on how we were settling in and taking the time to answer any concerns we may have had. Cripps is keen for trainees to experience the office, and after a few weeks I was working at the office two days a week.
For new starters, the nervousness of starting your contract may be exacerbated by the uncertainty created by the pandemic. However, I hope the above illustrates that new trainees are given a supportive introduction to the firm and that Cripps ensures a smooth transition no matter the circumstances.
Good luck to everyone starting in September!