Thank you, next
I am sure many of you are relieved to get through the latest round of training contract applications. It is not an easy time of year and while some of you may be in the final stages of the trainee recruitment process, others may be willing the next recruitment window to appear on the horizon as soon as possible. Whichever situation you find yourself in thoughts will turn to the immediate future. What should you be doing next?
There is always scope for building upon your knowledge of legal and current affairs. However, it can also be hugely beneficial to build the less ‘academic’ elements of your CV. Not only does this demonstrate your character beyond the professional sphere but, in my experience, it is also invaluable when you come to (finally!) start your training contract.
I had two years between finishing my LPC and starting my training contract. My initial reaction to the age-old conundrum of how to spend this time was to use it to prepare for my training contract by getting a job in the legal sector. However, I had often heard people say that you should go off and do something different, after all ‘you’ll be doing law for the rest of your life.’ After a long deliberation I went with the latter option.
The experiences I enjoyed during those two years have been extremely helpful throughout my training contract. I did a variety of things including helping out at a local summer club, working as a cheesemonger and spending some time travelling. What I did not do is anything even remotely related to law or working in an office. I did not realise quite how useful these experiences would be in preparing for what was to come.
One of the fantastic things about being a trainee at Cripps Pemberton Greenish is the range of opportunities available beyond your work at your desk. I joined the Charity Committee when I started, a group of willing helpers from across the firm who lay on events throughout the year to raise money for our charity of the year (currently CLIC Sargent). During my training contract I have helped to organise a wide range of fundraisers from ‘bake off’ events, quizzes and Easter egg hunts, to Christmas parties and cheese and wine nights.
My involvement in these events has helped me to get to know, and be known by, people in the firm outside of the department I was in at the time. My time spent doing some of the more unusual things in life really helped me to settle into the job and get involved in the organisation of firm-wide events with a fresh perspective. After all, who doesn’t like a cheese and wine night!
Fears that I was approaching the training contract a little ‘rusty’ were certainly there. But my experiences in those two years helped me to develop a range of skills (not always gleaned from a university course) which have been invaluable since.
Whether you now find yourself doing something which is legal or not, the key thing is to enjoy whatever is in front of you and take as much from it as you can. If you are not doing something legal, don’t panic. If you have not secured a training contract yet, don’t panic.
Whichever side of the coin you are on following the training contract application process, the essential thing is to be thinking ‘thank you, next.’