Friday, 29 August 2014

My first week as a trainee at B P Collins LLP

Now that week one is under my belt, I’ve found some time to look back and reflect on the things I’ve learnt so far as a new trainee at B P Collins.

It is always daunting starting a new job, especially when it's one that you’ve worked so hard to get, and by 9am on Monday morning the nerves had really kicked in. Thankfully, once I’d walked through the doors at Collins House, I was immediately put at ease by the number of faces I remembered from the assessment day a year before. Even better, many remembered me.

I had only been in the office for less than an hour when my supervisor said; “I’ve got a client meeting at 1pm, come along.” That was that; I was dictating attendance notes by the afternoon, drafting particulars of claim for a client the day after, and by Thursday I’d drafted my first witness statement. The B P Collins website says that the firm ‘are keen to test ability, aptitude and commitment from day one’ – and that couldn’t be more accurate.

It was refreshing to see that the ‘responsibility in a challenging yet friendly’ environment I had been promised all throughout the recruitment process is there for me to take advantage of. I had spent a long time looking at law firms through work experience placements and vacation schemes, so when I applied to B P Collins, I knew what I wanted from a law firm and it was these promises that really appealed to me. But with so many law firms promising so many things to prospective budding young lawyers, it’s always interesting to see whether they can live up to their word.

I once read a trainee brochure from a notorious magic circle firm professing to offer a healthy work/life balance and that amused me. Forgive the clichés, but I knew I wanted to be somewhere that I could learn quickly and would be trusted to work directly on matters alongside supportive colleagues, and so far that’s what I’ve experienced. For me, spending two years nursing paper cuts in a photocopying room is not a training contract well spent, and thankfully (so far as I can see), the firm share this philosophy.

Of course there will inevitably be a long bundling session thrown in now and then, and of course starting any new job carries the same frustrations; countless training sessions, spending hours getting to grips with the systems, processes and procedures, and most importantly, learning everyone’s name (it can be quite awkward when you’re looking at a partner’s picture on the intranet to find his name, for him to come up behind you and see his face on the screen). Hopefully it won’t take me too long to get there though.

All in all, I’ve had an exciting, interesting, informative and thoroughly fun first week, which was appropriately topped off with a drink or two in the local pub with colleagues to celebrate.

I am looking forward to what week two has in store for me.

Elizabeth graduated from Royal Holloway, University of London in 2008 with a degree in History and Politics. She went on to study the GDL at BPP London (Waterloo) and the LPC at the University of Law (Bloomsbury).

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