Theo's journey from law student to trainee
As we welcome our 2016 cohort of trainees, we thought you would like to hear about their journey from offer to trainee. Theo has just started in his first seat and will be sharing his experiences of being a new trainee at Bird & Bird over the next four weeks.
The Legal Practice Course has to be completed by all law or GDL graduates before they begin their period of recognized training. As a future trainee at Bird & Bird you are sponsored through the LPC at BPP University Law School.
It can feel strange being offered a job two years before its start date, but at Bird & Bird you are made to feel part of the firm as soon as you receive your offer.
Graduate recruitment stay in touch throughout this period and future trainees are regularly invited to social events being hosted by the firm. We were are invited to the firm’s Christmas party which is a really good opportunity to get to know people in a relaxed setting before staring. It was also a great opportunity to catch up with people from the firm who I worked with on the vacation scheme.
We also went out for dinner and drinks with the years either side of us during our time at law school. All this makes your first few months as a trainee easier because you already know a group of people at the firm who can help with any questions you might have in your first few weeks. The firm also makes a massive effort to find a role for those who have a gap between being offered and joining. This might be internally as a paralegal or even a role with one of our clients. Some future trainees also spent time at one of Bird & Bird’s international offices.
When you start the LPC you are not alone, you start with a number of other future trainees from the firm, the majority of my intake studied on the same course as me. This means that when you arrive at the firm on day one of your training contract, you arrive with people you have been friends with for over a year. This also makes the adaption to life at the firm easier because you are part of a group of friends going through the same process. My biggest piece of advice for the LPC is to treat it like a 9-5 job, if you put these hours in to studying the course then you should find the workload to be manageable and still be able to enjoy your weekends!
Before we started, Bird & Bird also put on talks so we could find out about each practice group. This aided our understanding of each department and helped when graduate recruitment got in touch for our first seat move preference.
After all the exams, interviews and waiting, it was finally time to start life as a Bird & Bird trainee! Our first day went by in a flash of welcome talks and a lot of new information to take in, but it was exciting to know we were starting our new careers with a group of friends.
After our first day, we then began the Professional Skills Course. The PSC is a compulsory element to training which has to be completed during your two years. At Bird & Bird the core modules are front loaded in your first two weeks.
The purpose of the PSC is to allow you to develop skills you will use during your career in law, for example, the advocacy course provides a first real opportunity to question and cross-examine witnesses. The advocacy course is set around two day long trials, one civil and one criminal, and provides an interactive way of developing your skills in this area.
The whole intake are on the PSC at the same time and there are usually at least three or four other trainees from the firm in each of your classes. The PSC is an exciting time because it provides a transition from waiting to start the training contract to becoming a trainee. After the PSC it was time to start life as a trainee at Bird & Bird…
Next week I’ll talk about my first couple of months as a fully fledged Bird & Bird trainee. Thanks for reading!
Theo Rees-Bidder, Trainee Solicitor