Preparing for Qualification

8 November, 2018

Juanne Jambaz is a second year trainee currently in her final seat with the Property Disputes team.

Juanne is preparing to qualify at the end of March, as she has recently had her application for time to count approved. Time to count is a method in which trainees may qualify up to 6 months early, if they have had previous relevant legal experience. It is at the discretion of the firm conducting the training to recognise such experience and take the time into account to reduce the training period.

My background

I graduated from law school in 2012 and spent the next five years working mainly in the legal field. I became well acquainted with residential property at my last firm and at Cripps started out in the Plot Sales team and later moved into the Development team. Having had a lot of legal experience, I decided from an early stage that I would like to qualify early if my previous employment prior to my training contract is recognised as time to count.

Reflection

Having had my time to count approved, I am now taking the chance to reflect on my training contract and the seats I have undertaken.

I think preparing yourself mentally for qualification is really important. For example:

  • What type of lawyer do you want to be?
  • Do you prefer contentious or non-contentious work and which sectors have you preferred working within?
  • Do you prefer working as part of a project team or do you prefer working individually on a file?
  • Do you enjoy the thrill of the courtroom and court deadlines or do you prefer getting deals across the line?

The answers to all of these questions will help you decide, what kind of lawyer you are suited to be.

It is not as simple as deciding which area of law you find most interesting, it is also about the work/life balance in that area and also the style of working within different teams. For me, I have not made a final decision on where I want to be, but I know I am getting closer to the answer.

Closing thoughts

Being in my position as a second year trainee, I would recommend that all aspiring lawyers begin to think about what kind of work they might be suited to. This can even be a consideration prior to the training contract. I suggest reading around subjects you find interesting and really thinking about what you want to achieve in your career. If you do have an idea of what area you would like to go into it is great to try to tailor the training contract to suit your interests (as much as you can whilst taking into account business needs). It is never too early to start thinking about what kind of lawyer you want to be. However, do ensure you start thinking about this in your third and final seats so when the decision needs to be made you can say with confidence where you want to be for the rest of your career!