Lawyers on the discussion board shared a shedload of good advice with a new trainee who asked them what they wished they'd been told at the start of their training contracts. I bunged up nine of their key tips earlier this year. Here are eleven more.

1. Keep people informed.

"If you get a new task and don't think you can meet the deadline, say so up front and explain why. If it's a no, say why it's a no, and offer to speak to other people about juggling."

2. Don't worry if small talk with clients or partners is awkward.

"It's how they communicate. They'll think they've had a wonderful conversation."

3. Don't say no to work then chip off out the door at 6pm every night.

" *eyes current trainee* "

4. Don't eat smelly food in open plan.

"And wash, regularly."

5. If you get into trouble, tell someone more senior immediately.

"And if you think you're heading for trouble then speak up before you get there. It's probably not as serious as you think. It's fine (up to a point) to get stuff wrong, occasionally - but a partner will never employ someone they can't trust to come clean."

6. Don't beat yourself up too much about making a mistake.

"Good trainees aren't good because they never make mistakes, they're good because they dont make the same mistake twice."

7. Don't get so drunk at official firm events that you make a dick of yourself.

On that note...

8. Be social and talk to people, but don't share every intimate detail of your life.

9. Office relationships are rarely a great idea, especially as a trainee.

"Avoid shitting where you eat."

10. Dress appropriately. Invest some of your first wage slips in decent attire.

"If you are a lady, don't wear ridiculously high/platformed 'fashion' heels. The associates will laugh."

"If you are a chap, don't wear a waistcoat with your new TM Lewin suit and skinny tie no matter how smart your mum says you look."

"And polish your shoes."

11. Be enthusiastic, even if the task is dross.

"It goes a long way."


Anonymous 16 August 16 11:23

All sound advice, particularly #1 - there is nothing more frustrating than setting a trainee a deadline, only to find once the deadline arrives that they have missed it because a partner gave them more important work. Far better to be told in advance that the deadline will be missed.

Also, I would add, take your time to make sure your work is perfect, rather than feeling like you have to rush through everything. Clients pay those high fees in the expectation of an excellent product, not a quick product.

Anonymous 16 August 16 13:23

@16/08/2016 10:23 - yes, clients expect a decent service from fees but they also don't care if the damn thing is 110%. lawyers in private practice don't realise that clients actually don't care about them or their work and they just want the lawyers to do their job so they can get lost asap.