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LCN Says

Macfarlanes training contract: the first three months

updated on 21 June 2022

Reading time: four minutes

This LCN Says will flesh out three key milestones that a trainee at Macfarlanes should focus on achieving in their first three months at a law firm.

Training contract

For some, and certainly in my case, starting your training contract will be unlike any other professional experience you may have had. You must go through the process of adjusting to the working day, the City, and, of course, to a legal career.

In the time leading up to the start of my training contract, I was looking for advice on ways to prepare and the essential milestones to achieve once I start at the firm.

This LCN Says is intended to provide an insight into my first three months at Macfarlanes and provide key advice that a Macfarlanes trainee should take on board. This advice is not exclusive to training contract holders but can provide insight for prospective applicants of our first-year insight scheme, vacation scheme or our training contract programme. 

To find out about opportunities for first-years, visit our first-year student hub.

Demonstrate your curiosity

At Macfarlanes, curiosity is highly regarded. It demonstrates your enthusiasm and dedication to a legal career. If you think about it in practice, Macfarlanes solicitors demonstrate curiosity all the time, for example, searching for a complex legal answer, integrating new legal technology systems or expanding their client base. As such, whenever there’s an opportunity for you to demonstrate your curiosity, go for it!

Check out the LawCareers.Net solicitors practice area profiles.

There’s ample opportunity to do so during the training contract, both in an explicit and implicit context. For example, in tax and reward (as well as other practice areas in the firm), weekly education and training sessions are held at which trainees are given the opportunity to present on a topic in the group. The benefit of this is two-fold.

Firstly, it allows you to carry out in-depth research about a topic, but it also shows your enthusiasm towards learning, and allows you to generate conversations based on what you know.

There can sometimes be a misconception in the City that knowledge sharing isn’t as valued from trainees – but that cannot be further from the truth at Macfarlanes.

Equally, you can have frequent conversations with your supervisor about the opinions you may be forming following a task or reading a news article. Overall, don’t forget to demonstrate your curiosity!

Visit the LawCareers.Net news section for recent developments in the legal profession.

Build your network

Networking is a common staple of advice given to those starting their career, but it cannot be overstated enough. Networking is important, both for professional and personal reasons. My supervisor told me to never underestimate the value of maintaining relationships with your peers, because ultimately, they’ll add great value to your career (and could even become your clients one day).

Visit the LawCareers.Net’s Solicitor’s hub for insights into the day-to-day work of solicitors at different firms.

Networking also feeds back to the idea of knowledge sharing. Having conversations with your peers can provide great insight into how other firms may work, developments in the legal market, how clients may think, and in general, equip you with the skills necessary for business development. In a personal context, it is also important to have opportunities where you can relate with others – networking is great for that.

During your first three months, I would encourage you to prioritise building your network, and attending events that will help you do so.

Get involved!

In the same vein as building your network, there’s an inclusive culture at Macfarlanes. As such, we have a multitude of staff networks that anyone can get involved in.

We have the:

  • REACH network;
  • Pride network;
  • DAWN network; and
  • Balance network.

In your first three months, I would encourage you to sign up to as many networks as you can. I’ve had the opportunity to become a part of the REACH steering committee where I’ve met people from across the firm. I’ve also been able to contribute my ideas to the firm’s policies and attitudes regarding race, ethnicity, and cultural heritage.

Other opportunities at the firm include but are not limited to:

  • the pro bono clinic;
  • mentoring programmes; and
  • community away days.

Additionally, there are both practice area specific and firm-wide events that take place throughout the year. Where appropriate, I would encourage you to get involved as soon as you can.

Final thoughts

I hope the above advice has provided some insight life as a trainee at Macfarlanes. If you have any further questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out the Macfarlanes graduate recruitment and trainee development team via email ([email protected]) or on Instagram (@macfarlanesgrad).

Saskia Rock-Williams (she/her) is a trainee solicitor at Macfarlanes. You can connect with her via LinkedIn.