Most blogs/articles/advice columns when you google ‘training contract’ are aimed at prepping you for interviews or vacation schemes, I have seen maybe a handful of articles describing what it is actually like to be a trainee.

When I look back to last September, I wish I could have read something giving me an insight into the two years that lay ahead, so I am hoping this may help someone else who is just starting out on their journey to qualification:

  1. Mistakes will happen

It is such a cliché to say but you will make mistakes. Most of the time they are easily fixed and some of them probably wouldn’t even phase a partner, but will seem a big deal to you.

When you make a mistake, the most important thing to do is to alert your supervisor straightaway. Everyone knows you are a trainee and they will help you to fix any mistakes. You will not (and cannot) know everything and that is okay!

Do not be afraid of making mistakes, they are inevitable but make sure you always ask if you don’t know. You must always try and find the answer yourself first but asking if you don’t know will help avoid any obvious mistakes.


  1. Trust the process

I will never forget my first few days at Farleys. I was in a brand-new office with new people doing a job I had only ever learnt about from textbooks; it was so daunting. It is normal to let doubts creep in within those first few weeks and even when you change seats, but you have to learn to trust the process.

The career you have chosen, if you are reading this as a future trainee or current trainee, is not easy. It is complex and demands a high level of expertise, something that will not develop overnight. In order to be the best solicitor you can be, you have to work hard and trust the process. I love the saying ‘you don’t have to see the whole staircase to take the first step’ and this could not be any more true when it comes to a career in law.

It is hard, especially as someone who likes to be in control (!), to blindly trust that things will fall into place but sometimes it all you can do.

Now, almost a year into my training contract, I am so happy that I did trust the process (although reluctantly at the time!) as I would not where I am now if I did not.


  1. Back yourself

I think naturally in an environment where you are surrounded by people who are so knowledgeable in their areas, you will feel intimidated. However, it is important to remember that you deserve your training contract and it is a massive achievement you must be proud of, so act like it!

Don’t get me wrong, you will be pushed out of your comfort zone and you will have to learn to sit with those uncomfortable feelings. This is added to by the nature of a training contract and the fact you move around every 6 months. Just as you start to get to grips with an area and feel competent, you are moved on to a new area with new people. Nevertheless, when those feelings of doubt begin to stir you have to remind yourself that you are more than capable of doing a good job.

Nobody likes an overconfident trainee who never admits when they are wrong but they also don’t want a trainee who is scared of their own shadow and is unwilling to use their initiative. You have worked so hard to get here, back yourself and trust your instincts – you will surprise yourself!

To learn more about applying for a training contract at Farleys, please visit the dedicated section of our website. The application window for training contracts opens in January.