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My job explained: Charlotte Jackson - Trainee Solicitor

My job explained: Charlotte Jackson - Trainee SolicitorCharlotte describes why she chose law and what it is like being a trainee in a law firm.

What stage are you up to in your career?

I am in the second year of my Training Contract to become a qualified solicitor.

What inspired you to study law?

Law is an art of problem solving, but instead of numbers or a puzzle, it is problem solving of words with words. Law, as many solicitors will say, has its own language and it makes its own rules, mixing long-standing principles with modern changes, case law with statute.

Also, solicitors are there to help people, to protect their client’s professional and personal interests. They can assist in any number of transactions for their clients and often guide clients through some of the most stressful times of their lives; buying a house, divorce, probate, litigation, setting up or selling a business.

How long did it take to train and what did the training involve?

After completing my A-Levels I completed an LLB Hons Law Degree at Kingston University, which took three years. This involved lectures, group work, research and mock trials.

After completing my degree I did the Legal Practice Course, which involves a lot more practical elements of the law, how to record minutes of a board meeting, how a trust works, drafting a defence or how to buy a property.

My training contract will be two years long and I will sit in at least three departments in my firm, corporate/commercial, property and litigation.

Can you describe a typical working day?

That is a tough question as my job is so varied, I am currently sitting in the Corporate/Commercial department, which means I draft contracts such as loan agreements, share purchase agreements and shareholders’ agreements. I am often assisting with large share or asset purchases where people are selling their businesses. I regularly meet with clients, barristers and assist on negotiations between disputed shareholders. One of the key things about my job is that it is very hands on, the firm I am training with is a medium sized firm with 16 lawyers and 50 members of staff overall. This means I get a lot of client interaction and to be more involved with the cases. My firm does complex corporate work and transactions which also means good technical law experience. I think that choosing the right type of firm as a trainee is very important.

What’s the best thing about your job?

The people, each client has different needs and requirements and this keeps the work interesting. Also, I work with a lovely team who support me in my training and encourage my development.

Have there been any challenges in getting to where you are now?

The legal field is challenging in that it is competitive and requires hard work, adaptability and teamwork but it is an interesting and enjoyable career that will never leave you bored.

What advice would you give to someone following in your footsteps?

Make sure you do something you enjoy and try your best at it. Also don’t worry about mapping your whole life out now, there are a million careers in the world, start with an idea and go from there.

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