The diary of a trainee solicitor

Having joined Rubric as a Paralegal in 2021, Sophie is a year into her training contract within our Real Estate department.

Here we hear about Sophie’s experience as a trainee solicitor and what advice she would give someone wishing to pursue a career in law.

Stepping into the real world of law

Diving headfirst into the world of law after earning my law degree at Exeter University was nothing short of a roller-coaster ride, with a steep learning curve.

An exciting chapter of my journey so far was my time in Spain. As I earned my LLB (Bachelor of Laws) with advanced proficiency in Spanish, I moved after graduating to enhance my commercial experience in an international real estate investment company.

Commerciality is definitely something that a university course doesn’t necessarily give you and is vital to understand and gain traction within the legal landscape and beyond. I have always thrived in problem-solving environments and seeing the bigger picture and therefore the application of my legal skills in a real-world environment led me towards practicing law in a commercial landscape.

Short-term goals: Maximising training opportunities

In the short term, my main goal is to finish my training contract whilst gaining as much hands-on experience as possible in various areas of the commercial sector. Thankfully, the diverse range of clients Rubric works with provides a rich opportunity to do just that.

Attending meetings with my colleagues has been a fantastic learning curve; as I am afforded the opportunity to understand different approaches to client advice, as well as the critical role of precise drafting. I am keen on enhancing my legal expertise and establishing a personal brand that echoes quality and success in the legal arena, whilst keeping an open mind as to the area I ultimately wish to qualify into.

A day in my shoes

My day starts early at 5:45 a.m. when I walk my dog Poppy. After that, I it’s off to the gym where I work out for around an hour before grabbing a smoothie on my home way.

I start my work day at 9 a.m. and update my to-do list for the day. I make sure to set aside time for big tasks in my calendar while staying on top of calls and appointments.

To manage small tasks efficiently, I stick to a two-minute rule: if a task takes less than two minutes, I do it right away. This helps me to quickly handle follow-up emails, sort out invoices, and keep track of important deadlines.

At 11 a.m. our department has a weekly meeting to discuss tasks for the week ahead and how we can support each other. The remainder of my morning is spent working on WLTT (Welsh Land Transaction Tax ) submissions with guidance from my supervisor.

In the afternoon, I take care of some administrative tasks, such as registering charges at Companies House or updating clients through our land registry portal.

I wrap up my work day between 5:30 and 6:00 p.m., by organising my emails and flagging tasks for the next day before calling it a day.

Words of advice for aspiring solicitors

My advice for anyone aspiring to become a solicitor is to gain some legal experience before you commit mentally and financially to the process. Becoming a solicitor is a lengthy process with two years of training required after your degree, plus a year doing the LPC (Legal Practice Course) or your SQE (Solicitors Qualifying Examination) exams.

I recommend starting positions such as paralegals or office administrators, which can offer a valuable glimpse into the daily responsibilities and expectations placed on solicitors. You’ll learn not only what various firms require from their fee earners but also gain insight into the work-life balance in different settings.

Good luck!