Getting to Cripps with a training contract
1. From Royal Tunbridge Wells to London
Cripps has offices in Royal Tunbridge Wells and in London – the historic spa town and the bright lights of the capital within an hour of each other – what a nice combination.
Most seats are in the main office in Tunbridge Wells but wherever you are working you will be exposed to a broad range of clients and cases – from individuals, to household brands, to SMEs, to headlining corporations.
It truly is exciting and there is no doubt that this variety and quality of work will create successful lawyers (more so than conquering the printers at different offices).
2. “You’re on mute”
The new reality of peering into each other’s homes, meeting pets, and universally hearing one of our colleagues quip, “you’re on mute!” has become a norm. But lo and behold… I attended a client face-to-face meeting in an actual office and it was great!
But nevertheless, love them or hate them, virtual meetings are here to stay and it is important to incorporate this new way of working.
Some top tips: turn your camera on; say “hello” (be sure to unmute yourself); double-check the name on your profile is actually yours; blur your background; and make sure filters are off to avoid any “Lawyer Cat“ mishaps!
3. More exams?
At the end of my Legal Practice Course (LPC), I celebrated the ending of exams, finally… However, as a trainee you still have to complete the PSC.
The PSC (which stands for Professional Skills Course) is a compulsory programme, set by the Solicitors Regulation Authority. Included in it are three compulsory modules as well as 24 hours of electives. Two of the compulsory modules formed the first 10 days of our training contracts at Cripps – Finance and Business Skills and Advocacy.
There is an exam (which you have to pass) in order to complete the Finance and Business Skills course and a mini mock trial in Advocacy. Interestingly, there will be no PSC element to the new Solicitors Qualifying Exam (SQE) pathway. It will be up to individual firms to decide whether they offer something similar to their trainees.
4. Musical chairs
At Cripps, trainees rotate seats every six months and we are left wondering, “how has it been six months already?!”
By the end of your seat, you have gained the trust of colleagues, you are (surprisingly) becoming familiar with the area of law, and you feel like you are making meaningful contributions to the team… and then you move seat and start again.
It is important to embrace this change; make a list of things you wish to achieve in your new seat; read LPC notes and legal updates relevant to the area of law; reach out to your supervisor before starting your seat; speak to the previous trainee to get some tips; and make the most of each change by learning from new people.
It is important to remember that your new supervisor does not expect you to know everything straight away and will give you time to adjust to your new surroundings! The culture at Cripps is built on cooperation and support.
5. “Read the standing orders and understand them!”
Shouted out in a rage by the vice-chair in the notorious Handforth Parish Council meeting, but nevertheless good advice.
Always make sure you understand what is being asked of you; what you are drafting; what you are reading and if something is unclear ASK! It is better to get clarification at the beginning of a task rather than halfway through.
If you don’t understand what you have written or what you are reading, how are you to explain it to the client or others in your team. So don’t be afraid to ask questions if you don’t understand (no matter how silly those questions may seem to you) – after all the primary goal of a training contract is to learn.
At Cripps, we understand the importance of investing in our junior lawyers and have programmes to suit everyone. Find out more on our graduates and students page.