A day in the life of a commercial trainee
This week, the trainee solicitor blog team caught up with Victoria Redman. Victoria is a second year trainee in our commercial team. Read on to find out more about her day.
I arrive at the office and grab a coffee to kick-start my morning. I am in our Kings Hill office for this seat, as that’s where most of the team is based. I check my emails and decide the priority of tasks on my to-do list.
I get started on the first draft of an agreement. As with much of the work done in the commercial team, there is no precedent document and most of the drafting is done free-hand. This agreement is for a client bank who has unclaimed customer funds in their account and wants an agreement whereby the funds are transferred to a government holding body. The agreement was interesting because the client wanted to retain the right to reclaim the funds from the authority if the customer claimed their funds, whilst at the same time maintaining the confidentiality of the client’s identity. All transfers both to the government and from the government therefore had to be done through the use of unique reference numbers. Due to the bespoke requirements of the client, only the ‘bare bones’ of an existing agreement could be used and the majority of the provisions required free-drafting. I enjoy free-drafting work, as it feels like solving a puzzle – rejigging the component parts around until it all fits together. It’s challenging, but very rewarding when you can send off a finished product to the fee-earner!
Team catch-up. These happen every Monday at the same time, and are a great opportunity for us all to talk about what we have on and if we have any capacity. If someone is low on work, or particularly busy, these meetings allow individuals to offer up help or off-load work to even up the spread of work across the team. The team get on really well, so this level of collaboration makes for a great working environment to be involved with.
I resume my drafting task until I am asked by a colleague to sit in on a call. The client is appointing a consultant and wants us to review the terms of the consultancy agreement that have been sent through. I listen to the fee-earner and take a note. This is often the best way to learn – as you are not only learning substantive law, but also observing (and learning from) the fee-earner’s client skills. Three months into my seat, I find it very interesting to see how different fee-earners use different approaches with clients. Witnessing these different approaches is all useful experience as I continue to develop my own working style as a trainee solicitor.
Lunch time. I head downstairs to the break-out area with a few of the other trainees. Lunches are often a sociable time and whilst work can be a popular topic of conversation, we always manage to have a laugh.
As a committee member of the Kent Junior Lawyer’s Division, I am helping to organise our next event – a gin tasting and networking evening. These events are great opportunities to meet other junior lawyers in your area, and are often good fun. It’s shaping up to be a great event, and with the gin providers narrowed down to three, I make a few calls to price up the options.
An email comes in from a client with whom we have a monthly retainer. This means that the client pays a pre-arranged specific amount each month and in return, they get an agreed number of hours of our time. I have a discussion about the work with the lead partner for this client.
Much of this client’s work concerns processing of personal data (and therefore a fair bit of GDPR work) and I find that this work is no different. GDPR, or the General Data Protection Regulation, was the corporate world’s ‘buzz-word’ in early 2018. Coming into force on 25 May 2018, the Regulation contains seven foundation principles, as well as rights and obligations which tightened up the processing of personal data by companies. The Regulation is confusing to the uninitiated (which, at this stage, I definitely considered myself to be!) and it followed that the task itself was also challenging. The client was working with a new sub-processor and wanted to check that the sub-processor’s data protection provisions in their Terms of Business are GDPR compliant. Having been sent the sub-processor’s Terms of Business, I begin my review and put together a note of explanation to the lead partner.
With the note almost finished, save for a final check planned for the next morning, I check my inbox a final time and my calendar for the next day before logging off and heading home.