Case study

Trainee solicitor — Emma Cawthorne

Emma did her Legal Practice Course (LPC) at The University of Law and is currently training to become a solicitor at Hudgell Solicitors

Why did you decide to become a solicitor?

I've always wanted a career that was not only challenging and intellectually stimulating, but also where I could help people and make a difference to their lives.

Some of the client's I help have had a really rough time and it's so rewarding when I can secure a favorable outcome for them, whether that be an apology, answers to why something has happened or financial compensation.

How long until you qualify?

I'm already 11 months into my training contract and I qualify in July 2017. The months are flying past.

What's a typical day like?

I can work on around six or seven cases a day and my tasks usually involve:

  • Corresponding with existing clients by way of letters, email and telephone calls to provide updates on their cases.
  • Engaging with potential new clients and providing advice.
  • Drafting witness statements, letters of claim and schedules of loss.
  • Reviewing medical and care records, researching the relevant NICE guidelines and British National Formulary, and approaching appropriate independent medical experts to gain further advice on pursing potential cases.
  • Assessing quantum using the judicial college guidelines, relevant past case law and inflation tables.
  • Drafting court documents such as Part 18 Requests for Information.
  • Instructing counsel to advise on merits, quantum and instructing to draft Particulars of Claim.
  • Attending conferences and I have also attended the County Court and Coroner's Court on occasions to observe hearings on behalf of clients.

What do you enjoy most about your job?

I enjoy the variety of work that I deal with and the fact that no two cases are the same. I enjoy researching the relevant areas of law and the medical procedures involved in the cases I deal with.

I also enjoy interacting with clients and developing a good working relationship with them. There is nothing more rewarding then securing a good outcome for a client.

What are the challenges?

One of the biggest challenges I face on a daily basis is time management. It's important that time is managed efficiently in order to meet the client's expectations and also the external time frames we're faced with. I’m a big fan of writing 'to do' lists and I find this really helps me keep on track.

How did you gain work experience?

I didn't actually gain any work experience in terms of going into firms while at university. I actually applied for legal jobs while I was in my final semester and I got a job as a litigation executive at a firm of solicitors the week I finished my degree.

I found that working as a litigation executive provided me with invaluable experience and it allowed me to carry out various tasks on other people’s files and to interact with clients and ultimately gave me the confidence to run cases on my own.

I decided to study for my LPC part time alongside working full time. The LPC is very practical therefore the skills I learned while working alongside studying really assisted me.

What advice would you give to others?

Don't give up. It's hard work securing a training contact and you have to work so hard with not only juggling work within the office but also attending courses externally which can keep you away from the office for days on end. But, hard work always pays off and it will be worth it in the end.

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