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Legal insights & industry updates

| 2 minutes read

My top five lessons from five months as a Trainee Solicitor

Life as a specialist trainee in the commercial property team at Harper MacLeod is hands-on, full of different learning experiences and every day presents an exciting challenge. Approaching the five-month mark of my traineeship, I have taken the time to reflect on the top five lessons I have learned so far. 

Lesson 1: Get to know all your colleagues

Starting any new job can be daunting. This can be even more true as a trainee as you may have little to no experience of the work you will be undertaking. Building relationships with your colleagues, not only your own team but the wider firm, will help you settle in quickly to your new environment and make you feel more confident when you inevitably begin asking for help! 

Lesson 2: Take part in the training sessions 

Throughout the Harper MacLeod trainee programme, trainees attend various workshops covering all areas of law and professional development. Even as a specialist trainee, engaging, asking questions and learning as much as possible during these sessions is important. You never know when the skills and information picked up will become useful. This is also a perfect opportunity to connect with your colleagues from different departments who you otherwise wouldn't work with. 

Lesson 3: Use technology 

During induction week, the variety of technology used at the firm can seem overwhelming. From financial management systems to electronic signature platforms and document management software, you may think you will never get to grips with all the technology on offer. The different tools are however there to help you with tasks like time recording, case management and document production. It is important therefore to work out how best to use the technology in your daily tasks as this will increase your overall productivity and quality of work. You can do this by asking your colleagues questions or attending the additional training sessions provided by your IT systems training team. A personal (although divisive!) favourite is using the electronic timers to assist with my time recording. 

Lesson 4: Start thinking about transactions as a whole

From the earliest point in your traineeship, it is helpful to consider how different transactions commence, progress and conclude. You may only be involved in a small part of the process but if you start to think about the next steps, this will help you understand how the various aspects of a transaction fit together to produce the end result. What you learn from one transaction will undoubtedly help you in the next and your experiences will begin to compound. 

Lesson 5: Ask questions

In any department, you will be surrounded by different colleagues who all have a wealth and variety of knowledge, skills and expertise. This is an invaluable resource for a trainee. Ask as many questions as possible to learn from the experiences of those who have been exactly where you are now and will likely relate to any situation you find yourself in.

Today’s trainees are tomorrow’s leaders, and many of our partners started with the firm as trainees.


commercial property, traineeship, graduate recruitment