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15 December 2021

1 month into my Traineeship

Starting was overwhelming. Coming from a High Street Firm into a Charity like LSA was a change. Your normal first day jitters were to be expected, then top that off with Covid 19 social distancing and masks. I kept thinking ‘how am I meant to smile at people when I have this mask on?’. Trivial in the grand scheme of things but a valid point. How are you meant to be friendly to people when they cannot see your face? I’m bad enough with names, but taking away half the person’s face and that just doubles your new job worries.

It’s fair to say I didn’t have to worry. I was welcomed in with metaphorical open arms and was given a proper induction to the business. Every trainee is worried about the ‘typical’ traineeship. There are many negative connotations that are affiliated with being a trainee. Many expectations placed on your shoulders and an understanding that the next two years of your life are going to be difficult and stressful. Day one, I was no different until the head of my department, and one of the partners of the firm said something to me that I don’t think I will ever forget.

‘We are breaking the cycle’

So, what cycle was she talking about? LSA have adopted a new approach to their trainees and have abandoned this old fashioned and outdated unrealistic perception of Trainees. They nurture from day one. I was told in the past, as many others have been, that a first year trainee is useless, it’s not until your second year that you are doing anything ‘worthwhile’. Again, I’d need to say that is completely against what LSA stand for. They promote this positive environment for their trainees based on praise and encouragement. I was expecting to come in, be given work to do, not fully understand it, make mistakes and then get into trouble. In reality it was quite the opposite.

So far, they have ensured that I have had one to one training, multiple check ins with senior staff daily and communication with staff at all levels. Working from home was a major concern for me because I was worried about integrating with staff and missing out on training because I cannot just hear what my colleagues are saying to clients or each other.

I would be lying to say that there are no disadvantages to working from home, but I think that I have adapted quickly and really enjoy the benefits too. Managing my workload has been the most significant plus side to working from home. This is because I know I can work all the way to my finishing time or work slightly over and I’m not going to miss my train, get stuck in traffic or not be home for the next hour or so. I have the comfort of knowing that once I finish work, I’m home.

I’m a month into my traineeship and so far the experience has exceeded my expectations. My opinion matters. Even as a trainee we have an input, which is a shock to the system. One thing I’ve learned in a very short time here is that LSA retain their staff for more than one reason. Their staff enjoy their work, they know what they are doing and they want to help people. It’s a very positive environment to be working in, I look forward to progressing in my traineeship over the next 23 months.

Mera Devi
Trainee Solicitor
Mental Health Team
LSA

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