09 August 2022

What LSA look for in a Trainee and how the firm supports Trainee Development

It has been 9 months since I started as a Trainee at LSA. Since the outset, I have been working with the Housing and General Court Department. The tasks assigned to me are centered around defending evictions and mortgage repossessions and the prevention of homelessness. In reflecting on my time since I joined, I can see how much I have progressed and the ways in which I have been supported to develop the essential skills and qualities of an LSA trainee.

LSA seeks Trainees with an interest in the topics of social welfare law, mental health, housing, employment, equality and human rights law. Provided you are keen to learn, there are fantastic opportunities to build knowledge in these areas. LSA’s active Seminar department gives trainees the chance to attend webinars and in-person training (all of which is verified TCPD). LSA is also involved in number of projects, allowing trainees the opportunity to connect with others in the profession. Recently, I attended training about the rights of destitute migrants led by the Fairway Scotland Project which seeks to bring housing and immigration advisors together to improve access to support for clients.

An interest in the civil justice system and a willingness to undertake advocacy is an essential part of the LSA traineeship. I have been lucky enough to be invited to observe my supervising solicitor conduct two Proofs. This has provided insight on how to lead evidence and prepare effectively. LSA also run a helpdesk at Glasgow Sheriff Court. The helpdesk provides the opportunity to take instructions at the door of court and observe procedural hearings. LSA supports trainees to gain as much court experience as possible so that we can build confidence before undertaking advocacy on behalf of clients.

Working in response to competing tight deadlines is never easy, and every trainee is expected to have some ability to work under pressure, organise and manage our own workloads in a flexible way. This is probably the most challenging aspect of the traineeship but the support systems in place ensure that my workload never seems unmanageable or overwhelming. From day one, my supervising solicitor was happy to take my suggestions on board and adopt systems I use to manage tasks. We have regular check-ins to ensure that we plan effectively to get everything completed on time. Most importantly, I always feel comfortable to ask others for help or guidance if I am not sure how to approach a task.

Making decisions and interpreting data with good attention to detail is crucial when advising clients. In the first few weeks as a trainee we were provided with training on the relevant legislation and how it applied to the work we’d be doing. At first, I was a little bit worried, there was a lot to learn and some of it was really complex. After a month or so, I was conducting client meetings myself. Having this responsibility early on has been hugely beneficial and has allowed me to build knowledge and grow in confidence with each new client.

It has been encouraging to see that trainees are able to contribute ideas to make current practices more efficient. Recently I have been working with our Office Manager and CEO to develop a new process for recording and accessing client data.

Working within a such supportive team has been a huge advantage, everyone is friendly, approachable and willing to help each other out. The present hybrid working scheme promotes flexibility and a healthy work-life balance. There are also regular meet-ups and outings including mini-golf, dinner and drinks, which trainees are always encouraged to attend.

It was important to me that I joined a firm that offered the opportunity for responsibility, variety and  building knowledge.  LSA has delivered this and more. One day is never the same as the next and providing quality services to people who are vulnerable and disadvantaged has been massively rewarding. I have learnt a huge amount already and I am looking forward to seeing how I can improve over the next 15 months.

Rachel Scott
Trainee Solicitor
Housing and General Court Department

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