Imagine this: day seven of my training contract with the Family team and I am on my own on a train to London with a suitcase practically the size of me, waiting to meet a client ahead of a significant financial hearing… Yes, I was just slightly outside my comfort zone!

Two trains, and two tubes later I had arrived at Kingston-upon-Thames County Court. All I can say is, if you have never used the tubes before, to my relief it is much easier to navigate than it looks! The client was yet to arrive, so I got myself settled in a conference room, awaiting the long day ahead.

Being a Trainee Solicitor you may think that my role at the financial hearing was simply to write a detailed note of the day’s discussions and progress. In some respects you are right, however I found out that it was much more than putting pen to paper. Family matters are inherently personal, and the nature of court hearings can make clients feel quite uneasy. They are in an unfamiliar environment, they may not totally understand what happens within the court walls, and ultimately the outcome will have an impact on their future life.

It is therefore extremely important that you develop a relationship with your clients from the outset, and support them throughout their case. Following the hearing, Claire Darley, my Supervisor and Partner within the Family Team received an email from our client highlighting how much she appreciated my assistance. I was proud that my attendance at the hearing had left such a positive effect on the client.

That is only one example of the work I am already being exposed to within the Family Team. Looking back over my first month, I have experienced a whole host of different tasks. From drafting correspondence, filing Forms at court, and preparing letters of advice, to attending client meetings, conferences with counsel, seminars and court hearings.

It is worth noting that the opportunities Higgs & Sons offer to Trainees extends beyond the workplace. I have already attended several external events, including a canal cruise in Birmingham organised by the Wolverhampton and Black Country JLD, the BTSS dodgeball tournament and bar crawl, and the Higgs Annual Charity Quiz.

I look forward to the many events yet to occur this year, from the BTSS Ball, to the NSPCC Festival of Trees. Although I must say, with the Starbucks and Krispy Kreme morning last Thursday and the upcoming McDonald’s breakfast I know what events I most look forward to!

 

Ellie Norton, First Year Trainee

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