Looking back over my first six months as a trainee, I realise how much I have learnt in such a short space of time. Surprisingly, some of the most important things I have learnt about life as a trainee are things that have nothing to do with the law.
Here are the top six things I have learnt from my first six months:
1. Don't be afraid to ask questions
When I first started, I thought I would be expected to know everything and be able to do everything that the department expected of me. As a result, I often found I was scared to ask questions, even the most basic of ones like 'how did someone want their document formatted?' However, I quickly learnt that there really is no such thing as a silly question! Whilst you can feel slightly stupid for asking trivial questions, I have learnt that it is much better to ask questions as you will learn more and at a faster pace.
2. Keep a List
On my very first day, I was told to fetch a notepad and write a list of the tasks I was being given and to update this each day, crossing off those I had completed and adding the new tasks I had been given. This is quite possibly the best piece of advice I have been given. In the whirlwind of starting a training contract and learning a million and one things, it is easy to get lost and lose track of the work you are doing, and the simple task of keeping a list has helped me come into work each day and know what needs to be done. It also ensure that I keep track of the matters I am working on and not miss important deadlines.
3. Ask about deadlines
Following on from number two, always always always ask about deadlines! When being passed a piece of work, ask the supervising fee earner when they would like it completed by. There is nothing worse than being passed a piece of complicated research and thinking you have a week to do it, only to find out a few hours later that you have until the end of the day to complete it. If a fee earner doesn't give you a deadline, ask for one; it will help you be more organised and keep on top of your work.
4. Own up to your mistakes
As a trainee you will inevitably make mistakes, it is a sure thing! However, if you do, immediately tell someone. It may be a trivial mistake or it may be significant one, and it may be terrifying to tell your supervisor; however, the sooner you own up to it the easier it will be for the mistake to be rectified. Most importantly, if you do mistake remember that it is not the end of the world. After all, everyone is human and we all make mistakes!
5. Get Involved
As an Ashfords trainee you are encouraged to get involved in everything, be it charity initiatives or helping with Breakfast Seminars. Whatever it is, get involved! It is a great way to meet other Ashfords employees, clients and other professionals.
6. And Finally….
The brownies sold in Bon Gout are quite possibly the best in the world. They will get you through even the darkest of your trainee days!