Explore: Legal

Trainee Solicitor
Farrer & Co

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Sonal S

00:00:03 Well my name’s Sonal S, and I’m a Trainee Solicitor. The old terminology for a Trainee Solicitor was an Articled Clerk, and I think most people’s parents would probably know exactly what that means. But the word Trainee, it’s a slightly dumbed down version basically. But essentially you’re employed by a firm for two years. You have what’s called a two-year training contract, and in that you move around different departments. So at my particular firm, you will see five departments for four months each, before deciding which you want to sort of specialise in. Therefore your sixth seat, we call them, you go back into that department, then you qualify into it.

00:00:42 I started in Disputes. Then I moved into Corporate, which – pure corporate is basically the buying and selling of companies, there’s – it’s no more complicated than that. My third seat was a really good one, it was Private Client, which as the name suggests is dealing with individuals. And then in complete contrast, I moved to Banking, I just went – I’ve been here about a month. And it’s an interesting time to be in Banking.

00:01:05 I decided to become a Solicitor probably actually quite young, I was probably about 13 or 14. And I just remember someone saying to me – oh you don’t need any specific A-Levels to become a lawyer. And I just thought, well I don’t really know what I want to do, so this law thing sounds quite fun. But then really the decision was made at about 16, when I was lucky enough to shadow a Barrister, just for a week in the summer holidays, and literally trotted around after him. And I thought actually this is quite – this is quite interesting, because he was meeting sort of different clients, maybe three or four in a day, and so the turnover of work was quite quick. And in the end I didn’t do law on its own, I did Law and German at University, combined the two, which was a brilliant decision. I had a really good time and, you know, few years later here I am.

00:01:53 So I started in September, at University, went home for Christmas, and I swore blind I wasn’t going back. I didn’t like it, I didn’t like the work, I didn’t like the kind of subject matter, I didn’t like how you were taught at University. But again, you know, bless my parents, they basically said – well just go for a couple of weeks and see how you feel in January. And it was fine, it just takes a little bit of time to get used to it. I mean I hated working here for the first three or four months. And they – they’re the ones who kind of just kicked me into doing it. And now they have, I’m not – you know, couldn’t be happier, I love what I do, I’ve got great friends here, it’s all just clicked into place. But I think it’s important to give things a bit of time, especially when you move from home to University, school to University. It’s not all necessarily just going to click straightaway.

00:02:40 I don’t have a specific dream. I would like to travel more, I think if I – if there was one thing I could do, it would be take a year off and go around the world. I went to some pretty cool places in between 2001 and now. Non EU places, which means I have loads of stamps, I love the stamps. And it just reminds me that I was so lucky to be able to go, because if now I wanted to take three or four weeks off in one stretch, well there’s just no way I could. Only get five weeks of holiday a year. But, you know, my last few summers at University, sort of tried to do my best to go and see bits of the world. And I didn’t do it – you know didn’t particularly spend masses of money, didn’t have masses of money to spend. But it was worth every minute of it. And I’m very, very proud of all the pretty pictures in my passport.

00:03:27 In an ideal world I’d quite like to be Senior Partner of this place, obviously. But – but no, really my – I’ve got quite modest ambitions. I’d just – I’d like to get married and have a baby one day. Quite like, you know, to be a Mum. But really it’s just, I think – and it’s really clich√©d to say this – but I just want to be happy in doing whatever I am doing. And at the moment I see my future as being here, a lawyer, I don’t know – and just – and continuing you know probably deciding my specialism in eight months or so, and then just going with it. So yeah, just more of the same.

00:04:01 ENDS

Sonal S is a Trainee Solicitor. She nearly left university after the first term, but her parents convinced her to give it another try, “I think it’s important to give things a bit of time, especially when you move from home to University… It’s not all necessarily just going to click straightaway”.

More information about Solicitors

average salary

The UK average salary is £29,813

average weekly hours

There are 37.5 hours in the average working week

39%  male 
61%  female 

The UK workforce is 47% female and 53% male

Future employment

Future employment?

? Solicitors advise and act on behalf of individuals, organisations, businesses and government departments in legal matters.
Entry to training usually requires a qualifying law degree or postgraduate diploma. Graduates in subjects other than law must first take a one-year conversion course. All entrants undertake a one year legal practice course, followed by a two-year training contract.
  • Draws up contracts, leases, wills and other legal documents;
  • Undertakes legal business on behalf of client in areas of business law, criminal law, probate, conveyancing and litigation, and acts as trustee or executor if required;
  • Instructs counsel in higher and lower courts and pleads cases in lower courts as appropriate;
  • Scrutinises statements, reports and legal documents relevant to the case being undertaken and prepares papers for court;
  • Represents clients in court.
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