My Legal Life

25 April 2023

Taking your first step on the legal career ladder can be a daunting prospect but it doesn’t have to be with the right support and guidance. Stephanie Watkiss is a first-year trainee solicitor based at our Dorchester office. She takes us through a typical day in the life of a trainee.


Arrive at the office, grab a coffee and catch up with colleagues whilst checking overnight emails.


Meet with my supervisor to review tasks for the day and prioritise tasks on my to-do list in order of urgency.


I attend a meeting with one of our family clients who has instructed us to prepare a Pre-Nuptial Agreement for him. I make sure to take detailed notes of the meeting as my supervisor has asked me to prepare a draft of the document.


I write up my notes following the meeting and immediately start my research regarding the agreement as there are a few unusual clauses we need to include.


Coffee refill and quick catch up with my supervisor to present my research.


Way forward agreed with my supervisor, and I start preparing the first draft of the agreement. This takes some time as it is a lengthy document, and it is important to make sure it includes everything the client needs.


A new enquiry comes in from a lady who wishes to begin Divorce proceedings. I take full details from the client, complete a conflict check and send the details to the family team to check their availability to see her as soon as possible. A member of the family team quickly picks up the enquiry and an appointment is arranged with the client to meet with them in the next few days.

1.00pm – 2.00pm

I usually grab a bite to eat from a local café and squeeze in a walk around the lovely gardens in Dorchester before heading back to the office to start my afternoon.


I drive down to Weymouth to attend a “Pre-proceedings” meeting which has been arranged with a client and the Local Authority. I meet with the client slightly before the meeting to take her up-to-date instructions.


After speaking to the client, we start the meeting with the social worker. The meeting is very productive, and we agree on a plan of support for the client and work she needs to do before the next meeting.


I head back to the office and draft my attendance note of the meeting. My colleague telephones me to discuss the case and I draft a detailed letter of advice to the client to confirm the outcome and the next steps we need to take.


I continue drafting the Pre-Nuptial Agreement from earlier today and schedule a meeting with my supervisor tomorrow to review the draft.


I write a “to do” list for tomorrow and diarise to send a draft of the Pre-Nuptial Agreement to the client once it has been checked by my supervisor.


I finish off the l remaining bits of work which require my attention in the office and head home to cook a delicious dinner (and probably fall asleep watching some rubbish TV).

My three top tips for trainees:

  1. If you’re not sure, just ask! – if you’re not sure what you’re being asked to do or it is something new to you, check with your supervisor. They would rather you ask so you know for similar matters in the future.
  2. Make the most of it – this is your time to learn and take in as much information as you can before you qualify.
  3. Socialise and network – you will learn so much from your fellow trainees so speak and get advice from them as often as you can. Attending networking events is also a great way to meet likeminded individuals in your local area. For more information on careers at Battens click here.

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