Case study

Trainee solicitor — Carly McGowan

Carly is in the process of becoming a fully-qualified solicitor. Discover how she combines her trainee role with studying for the Legal Practice Course (LPC)

How did you get your job?

I studied law at Nottingham Trent University. Once I graduated, I secured my current position as a trainee solicitor at The Money Shop. I am currently on secondment to Eversheds where I am a trainee in the restructuring department. Upon graduation I also started the LPC on a part-time basis.

The Money Shop knew that I was completing my LPC and asked if I could assist the legal department part time as they required additional support. Following a few months of splitting my time between the compliance and legal department, I was offered a training contract and a move to the legal team on a full-time basis.

During your training contract, get involved with as many opportunities as possible in order to gain good experience

How relevant is your degree to your job?

A degree in law was necessary; without completing the LPC (or equivalent) I wouldn't have been able to secure my training contract.

What's a typical day like?

As a trainee, your day-to-day job can vary tremendously. Generally, in my current role, I assist the other fee earners within the restructuring team with matters including drafting documents, drafting correspondence to, or on behalf of, clients and providing general support to the team.

How has your role developed?

As I have progressed as a trainee at The Money Shop, I have been given more responsibility. As a trainee, you usually do six-month seats focusing on a particular area of law, which allows you to gain additional knowledge and to build relationships with different areas of the business.

I am due to complete my training contract in September 2016 and then I will be a qualified solicitor.

The next step is therefore to obtain a position as a newly qualified solicitor; it is uncommon for NQ roles to be promised to trainee solicitors and therefore it can be challenging to secure a position once qualified.

What is the best part of your job?

I enjoy the diversity and the new challenges that you come across. Very often you are required to conduct research into an area of law that you may not have come across before; it's great getting to learn about new things and having the opportunity to continually develop.

What do you find the most challenging?

The deadlines can be quite challenging, however when you work in a team this is made a lot easier by sharing workloads and gaining the support of your colleagues.

What advice would you give to others?

Try to gain as much work experience as possible and plan ahead, particularly in relation to when and how to complete the LPC. If possible, it is worth securing funding for the course, otherwise you have to be prepared to self-fund.

During your training contract, get involved with as many opportunities as possible to gain good experience. Networking is also important and you should attend events in order to build and maintain strong working relationships.

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