Learning whilst being on the job

After working in the Private Client Department for around a year, I did not know what to expect when I started my training contract there. I knew I would not be doing Wills and Lasting Powers of Attorney anymore as this seat was for me to learn more about the Probate process and hopefully some Court of Protection.

However due to unforeseen circumstances half way through my first month as a trainee, I was given the responsibility for over 50 files to look after for a colleague that needed to go on extended leave. I was excited, nervous and of course scared but I knew this will give me the experience that potentially shadowing a solicitor wouldn’t.

However, to say I was unprepared was an understatement. Every task took more time then needed as I was ‘learning whilst being on the job’.  I learnt about audits, file reviews, distributions, estate accounts, applying for probate, but the list seemed never ending and I was concerned about the back log was piling up. So to survive this seat I learnt a couple of tricks that possibly could help you:

  1. Make a list this seems like an obvious thing to do but it helps you review the day’s tasks and allows you to priorities files so you know what files need to be worked on.

  2. Allocate a time in the morning to deal with emails and post the time spent here will differ day to day as the volume of emails and post will vary but it is so easy to forget to deal with emails and never get back to them.

  3. Take a break! after looking at ledgers and estate accounts sometimes you just won’t be able to make the numbers add up or see an obvious mistake. Close the file and go back to it with a fresh set of eyes – trust me this really helps.

  4. Always make notes of any phone calls taken as you might forget to type them up later. You will be surprised how quickly you forget a conversation you have had in the past five minutes.

I can definitely say I have learnt a lot more in the three months about the process but I think I would have preferred it if I was given a few files first to ease me in rather than feeling like I was being pushed into the deep end!