Entry Level
Trainee Solicitor
Pepperells

Salary: Competitive

Closing Date: Saturday, 30 September 2017

For more information, click here.

Main Duties

  • The job holder will produce all his/her own work on the PC and will have little if any assistance from administrative and secretarial staff.
  • Undertake an appropriate caseload of straightforward matters within various practice areas, under close supervision.
  • Interview clients and witnesses and draft statements.
  • Assist with the preparation of case documents and attend straightforward Court/Tribunal appointments.
  • The ability to communicate clearly and effectively is essential.

Person Specification

  • Achieved a First at degree level (E).
  • Evidence of interest in, and commitment to, the type of work Pepperells undertakes (E). Relevant work experience would be desirable.
  • Understanding of and commitment to Pepperells values and ethos (E).
  • A self starter, able to demonstrate high levels of initiative and motivation (E).
  • Very good interpersonal skills, demonstrating maturity and professionalism in all dealings. Able to deal sympathetically and appropriately with clients and to show empathy with them (E).
  • First class communications skills ” able to communicate clearly and appropriately, both orally and in writing (E).
  • Able to work effectively in a team (E).
  • Ability to make decisions appropriate to this level of work (E) .
  • Adept at using IT, with ability to use Microsoft applications, familiarity with programmes such as Word and Outlook and a willingness to use computer systems to their optimum potential (E).
  • Proven ability to undertake thorough research (D).
  • LPC qualified. (E)
E = Essential Criteria D = Desirable Criteria

Training Guide for Trainee Solicitors

Your Responsibilities

Training is not a one-way process; trainees have responsibilities and obligations under the training contract.
As a trainee, you must ensure that you understand your duties under the
training contract, that you are familiar with the training requirements and that you know what you are expected to achieve during the training.
You must ensure that you:
  • maintain an up-to-date training record of the work you have done linked to the skills
  • standards. Your firm may prescribe the training record format; if it does not, you can download and use the Law Societys sample training contract record.
  • take responsibility for your own self-development (completing and reviewing your training record, and reflecting on your experiences and what you have learnt are important aspects of this)
  • develop good working practices by managing your time, effort and resources effectively
  • raise any concerns with your training principal (for example, if you are not being given training in three areas of law, or you are not given a mix of contentious and noncontentious work, or you are not covering the skills standards)
  • if you are unsure about the work or tasks you have been asked to do, ask your
  • supervisor for clarification
  • let your supervisor know if you are given too much or too little work or if the work you are given is too challenging, not challenging enough or not varied
  • if you make a mistake, inform your supervisor or training principal as soon as possible
  • be open and honest when you are given feedback on your work and during performance reviews
  • satisfactorily complete the Professional Skills Course before the end of your training
  • contract and before you apply for admission to the roll of solicitors

Self-development

As a trainee solicitor, you should enjoy your training, do whatever you can to develop your skills, and take responsibility for your self-development.
You should:
  • plan your own programme of development, which could include, for example, ways in which you can achieve the skills standards
  • read and research journals and keep up to date with new statutes and regulations
  • build up a personal file, which could include your training record, precedents and your reflections on what you have learnt
  • conduct self-appraisals, thinking about your strengths and weaknesses, and ways in
  • which you can develop your strengths and eliminate your weaknesses. You can then discuss this with your supervisor at your performance reviews
  • develop your social and interpersonal skills
  • suggest solutions to problems, even if you are not certain that they are correct
  • if you make a mistake, admit it, and face up to any consequences

Our Responsibilities to You

We employ trainees anticipating that they will contribute to the future development of the business.
Good training demands significant time and resources, and good supervision is vital to ensure that trainees make a worthwhile contribution during their training and remain motivated and committed to your organisation.
The supervisors role in training should not be underestimated; the supervisor is responsible for providing practical day-to-day training and for giving trainees appropriate opportunities to develop their legal skills and knowledge.
On a day-to-day basis, and throughout the training contract, trainees may be supervised by a number of different people within the organisation ” including partners, solicitors or experienced legal executives. The training principal must ensure that anyone who supervises trainees has the appropriate legal knowledge and supervisory experience or training to perform the role effectively. Supervisors must be allocated adequate time and resources, and they must demonstrate a sound understanding both of the training requirements and of all that is expected of them as supervisors.
Supervisors responsibilities are to:
  • allocate work and tasks of an appropriate level, gradually increasing the level and the complexity of the work over time, while encouraging the trainee to suggest solutions independently
  • provide a balance between substantive and procedural tasks that ” as a whole “
  • demands the use of a broad range of skills
  • provide clear instructions and ensure that they have been understood
  • offer advice and guidance on appropriate research methods and materials along with
  • sufficient information and factual background about a case or matter
  • set a realistic time-scale for work to be completed and answer questions as they arise,
  • within a supportive environment that does not deter the trainee from asking questions in the future
  • monitor the trainees workload to ensure they have a sufficient but not excessive amount of work
  • ensure that the trainee maintains an up-to-date training record that identifies the work they have performed and the skills they have deployed
  • review the training contract record regularly to ensure that an appropriate balance of
  • work and skills is struck
  • give regular feedback to the trainee regarding their performance, recognising
  • achievements and improvements, and constructively addressing areas that require
  • further effort
  • conduct or participate in formal appraisals of the trainee
  • provide an environment that encourages the trainee to take responsibility for their own development

Training Plan

During your two year training contract you are required to work in various areas of law, in line with the type of work available. You will work in a core area, undertaking work in at least two other areas during your training contract on a day-to-day basis.
You will spend at least the equivalent of three months working in at least three individual areas.
During your training, you will maintain your own training record, covering work done and skills used. You must maintain such a record in the suggested format provided.
You are also required to maintain a supervision file where you will document discussions and interactions with your supervisor(s) and comment upon skills and knowledge gained from this.
Both records will be inspected by your supervisor(s); this will usually be done on a weekly basis in a meeting at which you will be in attendance.
You will develop your skills through a variety of the following activities:
  • completing work and tasks by yourself
  • assisting others
  • observing experienced practitioners

Advocacy and oral presentation

On completing your training contract, you should be competent to exercise the rights of audience available to solicitors on admission.
Experienced gained during your training will enable you to understand and practise:
  • the communication skills of the advocate
  • the techniques and tactics of examination, cross-examination and reexamination
  • the need to act in accordance with the ethics, etiquette and conventions of the professional advocate
The tasks you perform will enable you to grasp the principal skills required to prepare, conduct and present a case:
  • identifying the clients goals
  • identifying and analysing relevant factual and legal issues, and relating them to one another
  • summarising the strengths and weaknesses of a case
  • planning how to present a case
  • outlining the facts in simple narrative form
  • formulating a coherent submission based on the facts, general principles and legal authority in a structured, concise and persuasive manner
The following activities will foster your skills:
  • helping to advise on pre-trial procedures
  • helping to prepare cases before trial with one or more lawyers, attending the magistrates courts to observe trials, bail applications, pleas of mitigation or committal, and observing submissions in chambers, examination, cross examination and reexamination in open court
  • observing proceedings in family cases, industrial tribunals, planning tribunals or    other tribunals or forms of dispute resolution
  • as training progresses, and under appropriate supervision, conducting interim applications before a Master or District Judge
  • becoming involved in presentations for clients or in preparing or delivering in-house training

Case and transaction management

You will begin to acquire skills in managing and running a case or transaction.
You will be given work to enable them to understand the importance of:
  • producing a schedule for a case/transaction, broken up ” where necessary ” into  phases
  • planning out phases of work to include time, cost and risk management
  • developing techniques to diarise, follow up and revisit matters at the appropriate time
  • keeping accurate records and attendance notes
  • effectively managing files
  • regularly and fully reporting back to clients
  • co-ordinating teams to review progress and revise options
  • bringing matters to a timely, client-satisfactory conclusion
  • wrapping up the matter, closing the file, and recovering costs and disbursements
To develop your skills, you should work on larger cases or transactions as members of a team, or they should be given smaller transactions to run themselves, under close supervision.

Client care and practice support

To enable you to work effectively in an efficient practice, you must develop the skills required to manage time, effort and resources.
You will be given work that will enable you to:
  • prioritise tasks
  • set and meet deadlines
  • review and report progress on matters
  • balance immediate and long-term objectives
  • keep appropriate records
  • understand the processes of setting fees and billing clients
Activities that will help you to achieve this include:
  • planning work by the use of their diaries
  • using email, word-processing, scheduling and organisational systems regularly and appropriately
  • working effectively with support staff
  • recording expenses and disbursements and obtaining reimbursement
  • opening and closing files
You will develop good working habits, and your supervisor(s) will check this regularly.

Communication skills

You will understand the need to refine your communication skills so that you can present oral and written communication in a way that achieves its purpose and is appropriate to the recipient.
You will be given work that will help you to:
  • select appropriate methods of communication
  • express ideas concisely, clearly and logically
  • use appropriate language
  • use correct grammar, syntax and punctuation
  • pay attention to detail by proof-reading, checking the format and numbering of documents, cross-referencing and using consistent terminology
  • listen actively and speak effectively
You will develop these skills by:
  • drafting letters, internal notes and memos
  • reporting to clients and others by telephone
  • taking notes in meetings
  • dictating notes and letters
The importance of keeping clients regularly informed of the progress of a matter and the client care procedures in Rule 15 will be emphasised to you. You will be given regular advice, guidance and feedback on your performance.

Dispute resolution

You will become familiar with contentious work and gain a full understanding of the skills and practice of resolving disputes, including settling, mediation and adjudication, in a fair, cost-effective and timely way that meets client needs.
You will be given opportunities to observe and/or assist in resolving disputes so that
you will understand the need to:
  • take careful instructions
  • identify the clients purpose and advise on the possible outcomes and costs
  • thoroughly research the parties liabilities
  • gather evidence from witnesses or elsewhere
  • consider all the options for resolving a dispute
  • meet deadlines and keep clients informed of progress
  • draft or prepare papers to assist in resolving a contentious matter
  • control information central to the dispute throughout the proceeding
  • represent the client and the clients interests through meetings, conferences and hearings
  • ensure that settlements and judgements are secure and enforceable
You will develop these skills by attending tribunal hearings or ADR meetings, observing proceedings and assisting with the preparation of cases.
Your supervisor(s) will explain how the work you undertake fits into the strategies pursued in a case and into the context of litigation as a whole. You will be given feedback on work you have done and will be offered a perspective on the significance of your work to the case as a whole.

Drafting

You will recognise the need for and be able to produce documents that are clear, precise and achieve their purpose.
You will be given work that enables you to:
  • maintain a standard of care that protects client interests and meets client objectives
  • address all relevant and factual legal issues
  • identify relevant options
  • demonstrate a critical use of standard forms and precedents
  • draft documents that
  • are consistent and coherent
  • are clear and precise
  • meet any requirements of form and style
You will develop these skills by drafting
  • witness statements and affidavits
  • corporate resolutions
  • wills and trust deeds
  • statements of case
  • transfer of property documents
  • leases
  • instructions to counsel
  • contracts
The complexity of your work will be increased incrementally, and you will be given opportunities to amend drafts of documents received from the other side and to practise using standard forms and precedents.

Interviewing and advising

You will understand the importance of identifying the clients goals along with the need to take accurate instructions. You will be given opportunities to observe and to conduct interviews with clients, experts, witnesses and others.
You will be given work that helps you understand the need to
  • prepare for an interview
  • allow clients or professional advisers to explain their concerns
  • identify the clients goals and priorities
  • use appropriate questioning techniques
  • determine what further information is required
  • identify possible courses of action and their consequences
  • help the client decide the best course of action
  • agree the action to be taken
  • accurately record the interview, confirming the instructions and the action that needs  to be taken
  • establish a professional relationship with the client, and deal with any ethical problems that may arise
You will develop these skills by observing and taking notes of meetings and interviews, whether face to face or on the telephone.
The purpose of a meeting will be explained to the trainee, and the conduct of the meeting will be reviewed with you afterwards. Where you are conducting an interview, your supervisor will carefully monitor any advice given by you during the meeting, and give guidance and feedback on the your performance after the meeting.

Legal research

You will learn to find solutions by investigating the factual and legal issues, analysing problems and communicating the results of their research.
You will be given work that makes use of traditional and computerised research tools and sources, business information and other relevant sources.
You will be required to:
  • research specific legal issues and factual, historical or commercial matters
  • prepare for client interviews
  • analyse corporate searches
  • investigate title to property and other relevant searches
  • review title documents and clients papers
  • assist with due diligence enquiries
The person who allocates the work will give you:
  • background information on the context and purpose of the research
  • clear instructions
  • defined tasks
  • information about any limitations to be imposed on their research
  • guidance on where to begin
You will be given guidance and feedback on your performance.

Negotiation

You will understand the processes involved in contentious and non-contentious Negotiations and appreciate the importance to the client of reaching agreement or resolving a dispute.
You will be given opportunities to observe negotiations conducted by experienced practitioners and/or to conduct negotiations under close supervision.
You will be given work that will help you understand the process of negotiation including:
  • identifying the central issues and explaining them to the client
  • assessing the bargaining-positions of each party
  • planning a negotiation
  • establishing an agenda at the start
  • listening actively
  • using appropriate questioning techniques
  • generating alternative solutions to resolve the issues
  • using an appropriate negotiating style
  • identifying the strategy and tactics used by the other side
  • documenting the agreement or settlement
  • explaining the benefits and disadvantages of the agreement or settlements
Guidance will be given on the purpose of negotiation, and feedback should be provided on the outcome and on your performance.

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