Angharad Warren
Angharad Warren
Associate Director

Articles From the Team

Are you getting the training and support you need as a junior solicitor?

As a solicitor, technical skills and legal knowledge are vital to your job, ensuring that you give clients timely, commercial and accurate advice. Without appropriate training and support, many young lawyers find that they are left feeling as though they are 'winging it' and that they are out of their depth. Qualifying as a solicitor by no means makes you the finished article. Therefore, junior lawyers must have access to support from senior members of the team who are happy to invest their time and energy into ensuring you become the best lawyer you can be.

When you are sufficiently trained, you will find that you can work faster and more efficiently. For those of you with hours or fee-based bonus systems, it could also mean extra cash in your pocket.

It can be easy to miss out on organised training sessions when you are busy at work. Wherever possible, though, you should look to learn and build upon your technical skills. So, take every opportunity offered to you. It will benefit both you and your firm in the long run and make you a more valued asset to your team. 

Have the right training will improve your performance and increases your understanding of the law. In turn, this helps build your confidence and means that as you progress through your career, you are better able to represent your firm and win new business. 

Knowing your firm is investing in you will also give you greater job satisfaction and the feeling that you are progressing/ developing as a lawyer. Knowing you are valued will increase morale which is a great thing for both you and your employer as you are likely to stay in your job longer. High retention rates mean that your employer will spend less time and energy on the recruitment and training of new starters.

When you are going about your day to day job, it can be easy to ignore your weaknesses. Think about which areas you struggle with or lack confidence in and speak to your manager about how any shortcomings can be addressed through training.

There may not be any weakness in your technical skills but rather in your confidence when speaking with clients, in how to use your initiative, or improving the pace at which you get through work. Whatever gaps you might have, there should be support available to encourage you to improve as you progress and grow during your career.

Remember - your firm want you to succeed. They are committed to investing in you, so, be upfront about what you need from them to make the most of the opportunity.

When you are sufficiently trained, you will find that you can work faster and more efficiently. For those of you with hours or fee-based bonus systems, it could also mean extra cash in your pocket.

Make the most of what is available to you. Nowadays, many firms have buddy/ mentoring schemes for new starters as well as on the job training, podcasts, webinars, a comprehensive suite of training documents on the intranet, and in-house seminars. Some firms also offer financial support for further individual study.

If you are a junior lawyer and feel that you are regularly thrown into the deep end, then maybe it isn't the right place for you. Firms should have a strategically laid out, step by step training plan from the off, to ensure that you aren't thrown helplessly into information overload.

Whilst some prefer the sink or swim approach, I've often heard from candidates who I've helped move to more supportive environments that although they appeared to be doing well at their previous firm, under closer supervision, training and support has highlighted areas of improvement. You don't know what you don't know until you are shown! 

Being thrown into the deep end isn’t an appropriate training method, especially within the legal sector, where mistakes can be costly. Both your reputation and your practising certificate could be on the line, as well as damage to the firm’s name and its indemnity insurance!

Before deciding whether you need to move firms to access better training, firstly explore options internally. If you work within a team with a good structure, perhaps see if support is available from an Associate or Senior Associate, often they will want to develop their supervisory experience. Also, think about what you can do to help yourself get up to speed. Further reading and putting extra effort into attending events and seminars will go a long way.

Have the right training will improve your performance and increases your understanding of the law. In turn, this helps build your confidence and means that as you progress through your career, you are better able to represent your firm and win new business. 

You can also ask for help as your manager might not realise you are struggling. They may have incorrectly gauged what level you are at and don’t realise that you feel overwhelmed. Remember - your firm want you to succeed. They are committed to investing in you, so, be upfront about what you need from them to make the most of the opportunity.

If you have already tried to access further support and it isn’t forthcoming, then please call us for a confidential chat about your career. Lack of support and training is a significant factor that people mention as a motivator for pursuing a move. We can point you in the direction of firms who place this at the forefront of what they do.

Get ahead on the Career ladder

Search our Jobs Today!

Search Jobs

Awards

We’re a Sunday Times Best Small Company to Work For: 2016, 2017, 2018