26 January 2023
My Traineeship Journey – 8 months to go
Eight Months to go until I am finished my Traineeship. I remember thinking that two years was a really long time, turns out it really is not. My first year of my traineeship was a whirlwind of emotions, new faces, incomprehensible information, and imposter syndrome.
I’d like to say that that last part has eased off, but I don’t know if it ever will. I’ve met enough outstanding people in my first sixteen months in the legal field to know that I am not the only one to feel like I don’t belong.
I have had every misconception I had about becoming a solicitor demolished by some truly inspiring people in the field of law and have come to realise that being a solicitor is more than helping your clients, you help your colleagues. The legal field is an obscure family that supports each other, of course there is always that strange uncle that is just mean for the sake of it, but in my experience the legal field supports their trainees. I have had the pleasure of being supported through my journey by so many people that I don’t know where to start.
My team at LSA are my backbone. I couldn’t be happier to have such a wealth of knowledge, experience and dedication at my disposal. I am given freedom to not just learn but to make mistakes and adapt. There is no blame culture in the Mental Health Team. There was one instance that I thought I had messed up, I was so worried about telling my manager about it and when I finally did, I realised how ridiculous I was for being so stressed about it. Luckily, I hadn’t made the mistake, but before that had been established, I was told to calm down and talked through every stage of the process. I was told that even if I had made the error, then it could have been rectified easily.
As a trainee you are always dreading the day you make a mistake and worried about what light that puts you in. It’s safe to say my team made sure that I knew to come to them immediately if something like this happened again, which really was a great learning experience.
Having my restricted practicing certificate meant being flung into the wild to deal with Hearings and Tribunals myself. Was I terrified that I would mess up? Yes. Was I worried I wouldn’t say the right language? Yes. Was I scared I would sit in the wrong side of the room? Most definitely. However; I had two things I was worried about more. I was concerned that my red tinted reading glasses would draw negative attention to my dyslexia and that the solicitor for the other side would be judgemental of the inexperienced trainee.
My first hearing, my manager ensured that the Clerk knew it was my first appearance and that I have dyslexia and dyscalculia. The Sheriff made the effort to give me positive feedback at the end of my appearance which was the best confidence boost any trainee could be given. Eventually, I accepted that the only person who cared about my glasses was me and I needed to stop creating issues where there wasn’t one.
Solicitors from the ‘other side’, so far, have been fantastic. They have been friendly, understanding about the stage I am in my career and are always willing to give advice. I have learnt so much from sitting outside the AWI court and talking to the other solicitors. Building these types of cross firm relationships is not something that can be taught but I’ve learnt are critical to my development as a trainee.
Back to my original point, two years is not long enough. I feel like I am finally finding my footing but I am scraping the edge of what I am about to learn. My colleagues have taught me that it doesn’t matter how long you are practicing law for, you will always be learning something new. The relationships you build with your colleagues, in and outside your firm, will put you in a good stead to continuously adapt and develop. My Traineeship journey is not over yet and I have a lot left to learn.
Mental Health Team