Starting a training contract: how to make a good impression

Dear Oracle

I start my training contract in September and was wondering how best to make a positive impression and to stand out from the crowd. Also, what should I aim to achieve in each seat?

The Oracle replies

Keep showing the qualities you showed at your initial interview! Be keen: regularly ask how you can assist others in your department. Read independently about your area of practice in each seat. Develop friendships within the firm that are based on initiative and positivity. Never join in with moaning or unpleasant gossip. Participate in team-based extracurricular activities and social events. Think about how you can be an ambassador for the firm (eg, taking a role with a local young professionals group).

Mostly, you should work really hard to improve your skills as a practising solicitor. These include written and oral skills, across many formats and scenarios. Think about how you can improve your drafting and proofreading. Become as indispensable to as many people as possible within your team. Develop mutually helpful relationships with the support staff.

As for what you should be aiming for in each seat, this is a question to ask of your firm's training partner or supervisor. They may have checklists. If not, you could perhaps discuss with your seat supervisor whether you can both create a seat checklist together. In many firms, policy is co-authored by trainees and partners. If you feel yours falls short on formal, written procedure then perhaps this is something you and your peers can think about.

Haven’t secured a training contract yet? This way for the Oracle’s application writing advice, tips on how many applications to make and how to prepare for the trickier questions you will be asked at interview

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