Quitting my Law Training Contract during my First Seat - Help! Watch

flatlined
Badges: 9
Rep:
?
#21
Report 4 months ago
#21
(Original post by JohanGRK)
Hang on, so I don't get to sit around for 2 hours at lunch drinking iced lattes?

Seems like a cushy advisory seat in some behemoth might be for me
Be careful as advisory seats in US firms often have longer hours than transactional as they're all corporate/finance support. Highest billers at my firm are advisory. I imagine it's not dissimilar in many UK firms.

I know someone in employment & pensions at Slaughters who doesn't mind it too much though - probably one of the sweetest gigs you can get in PP.
0
reply
Solicon
Badges: 7
Rep:
?
#22
Report Thread starter 4 months ago
#22
(Original post by flatlined)
DO IT.

I'm an associate in a city firm. It's not uncommon for trainees to quit - you just don't hear about it. Along with the general attrition rate in law - i.e. the general turnover of associates in US firms is about 2-3 years. Usually they go in-house or move to a UK firm eventually. Statistically most people are out of big city firms by 3PQE. My firm and others have only a couple to a handful of their own ex-trainees still remaining as associates in the firm, and most are NQ- 1PQE.

So if you stay you could be prolonging the inevitable. Being a qualified lawyer doesn't help with any job except being a lawyer. Which sucks. And is the reason why people who have invested years into the process can't leave.

As you have noted from your regional firm, I can confirm for city law: everyone hates it and those who don't find it barely tolerable. The reason why most 5PQEs are in it still is some fleeting hope of partnership or golden handcuffs in a US firm where including bonus they're touching nearly 300k. But none of them are happy and that money is very, very short term before they have enough/burn out and take the paycut.

Legal work is awful and it doesn't get any better. Being a trainee is particularly crap and NQ-1PQE is really, really rough. As an NQ you just want to keep your job, hit your hours, build your reputation - like the crapness of being a trainee just intensifies and gets worse.

The work is really, really boring and there is no financial upside in your situation. You can do SO many jobs which pay better or just as well. You should never have taken the training contract at this regional hole, but at least you've learnt to deal with difficult situations and difficult people. I totally regret it.

Please go with your instinct and get out. As you know, as a student, you couldn't have seen quite how bad it was until you actually did it. The vacation schemes are all a lie. NOW RUN.
Thanks for your advice. I am leaving at the start of January once my lease expires. Feel so much lighter knowing I've made the decision.
0
reply
Solicon
Badges: 7
Rep:
?
#23
Report Thread starter 3 months ago
#23
(Original post by flatlined)
DO IT.

I'm an associate in a city firm. It's not uncommon for trainees to quit - you just don't hear about it. Along with the general attrition rate in law - i.e. the general turnover of associates in US firms is about 2-3 years. Usually they go in-house or move to a UK firm eventually. Statistically most people are out of big city firms by 3PQE. My firm and others have only a couple to a handful of their own ex-trainees still remaining as associates in the firm, and most are NQ- 1PQE.

So if you stay you could be prolonging the inevitable. Being a qualified lawyer doesn't help with any job except being a lawyer. Which sucks. And is the reason why people who have invested years into the process can't leave.

As you have noted from your regional firm, I can confirm for city law: everyone hates it and those who don't find it barely tolerable. The reason why most 5PQEs are in it still is some fleeting hope of partnership or golden handcuffs in a US firm where including bonus they're touching nearly 300k. But none of them are happy and that money is very, very short term before they have enough/burn out and take the paycut.

Legal work is awful and it doesn't get any better. Being a trainee is particularly crap and NQ-1PQE is really, really rough. As an NQ you just want to keep your job, hit your hours, build your reputation - like the crapness of being a trainee just intensifies and gets worse.

The work is really, really boring and there is no financial upside in your situation. You can do SO many jobs which pay better or just as well. You should never have taken the training contract at this regional hole, but at least you've learnt to deal with difficult situations and difficult people. I totally regret it.

Please go with your instinct and get out. As you know, as a student, you couldn't have seen quite how bad it was until you actually did it. The vacation schemes are all a lie. NOW RUN.
UPDATE: I have not yet quit. Still think its an awful job and still get treated like **** but managed to take 2 weeks annual live to help avoid work and now Christmas is fast approaching... advice remains - don't do a TC.
0
reply
DarkChaoz95
Badges: 18
Rep:
?
#24
Report 3 months ago
#24
(Original post by Solicon)
UPDATE: I have not yet quit. Still think its an awful job and still get treated like **** but managed to take 2 weeks annual live to help avoid work and now Christmas is fast approaching... advice remains - don't do a TC.
if its as bad as you say it is, surely then its better to avoid city firms rather than avoid getting TC entirely?
0
reply
AndrewMarkSP
Badges: 13
Rep:
?
#25
Report 3 months ago
#25
Could it perhaps just be this particular seat that is the problem? Maybe wait and see how you get along with the partners in your next seat before throwing in the towel. I can understand how attractive the thought of stopping is if you're *so* unhappy, but this might be something you look back on and feel was a bit of an over reaction.
0
reply
Trinculo
Badges: 19
Rep:
?
#26
Report 3 months ago
#26
(Original post by DarkChaoz95)
if its as bad as you say it is, surely then its better to avoid city firms rather than avoid getting TC entirely?
Lol.

"avoid city firms"

So earn minimum wage working mad hours in a pokey high street office listening to people tell you lies for 48 minutes, and then spending 12 minutes trying to work out how to turn those lies into fees.

Seems legit. On the upside, you'll probably never earn enough to have to pay back your student loans.
1
reply
Trinculo
Badges: 19
Rep:
?
#27
Report 3 months ago
#27
Does it not occur to you that there are now two types of legal practise?

1. City law. Taking rich clients money and playing legal ping pong with another firm until one side's client gets fed up or runs out of money.

2. High Street law. As above. Turning lies into money, except for conveyancing, and even that is taking someone's very old lies from when the house was built in 1920 and relying on successive generations of lies from subsequent buyers/sellers, and turning them into all new lies which you sell to a client who wants to buy lies from the lowest bidder.
0
reply
Colonial411
Badges: 6
Rep:
?
#28
Report 2 months ago
#28
(Original post by Solicon)
Hi everyone,

never thought I would be writing this but here it goes.

My law journey started at university where I got a 1st class in my LLB. I applied for vacation schemes (did ones at Pinsents, Addleshaws, and Slaughters). After this I then did the LPC where I got distinction and went on to secure a training contract at a regional office of a City firm.

When I got offered my TC I had several friends working in London at City firms telling me to NOT do it. I didn't listen and thought I had struck gold at securing a top firm but in the regions where I thought the culture would be friendlier. I was subjected to the usual "we are an open and approachable firm etc etc".

I have been at my firm for 8 weeks now and I absolutely hate every day. My seat is commercial real estate which is not the most interesting but the thing I hate the most is the people. Everyone is extremely unfriendly, nasty, stressed, and they enjoy treating their trainees like crap and using them as a source to vent their anger.

Should I quit? I really want to and cannot imagine staying at this firm for 2 years. It has totally turned me off a career in law (to be honest the job is boring and I don't want to do any of the work I see the senior associates slaving over). The culture is brutal and I am feeling severely depressed going to work every day. At first I was eager to learn but that was quickly whipped out of me.

I plan to quit at the end of December (after 4 months) if I find another job (I have rights to work abroad so would apply to jobs in my home country).

Anyone been through something similar/got any advice? Desperate here

Thanks.

Just doing some student room surfing...

I don't think you should listen to SOME of the advice on here ('flatlined')... It must be a massive culture shock moving from uni to the real working world. I don't mean this in a patronising way at all but it is a huge shock to go from studying with peers who are your mates to working in an office. I think law can sometimes be the most extreme because you can get trainees who have literally come straight out of uni with no previous employment experience and they land in a highly formal, stressful and high performing corporate environment. Keep that in mind because everyones first job sucks but the legal transition can be particularly tough.

I think the best decision is to wait until your next seat, prioritise yourself (taking holidays etc as you have been doing) and if you aren't enjoying the current seat you are in (including perhaps the next one) then look at it in a different way - try and work on your writing skills, networking or business understanding during that seat. See it as a test in endurance. There are really practical ways to get you through a **** day at the office - put your headphones in and listen to a podcast, take an hour for lunch, go to the gym at some point.
0
reply
Solicon
Badges: 7
Rep:
?
#29
Report Thread starter 2 months ago
#29
(Original post by Colonial411)
Just doing some student room surfing...

I don't think you should listen to SOME of the advice on here ('flatlined')... It must be a massive culture shock moving from uni to the real working world. I don't mean this in a patronising way at all but it is a huge shock to go from studying with peers who are your mates to working in an office. I think law can sometimes be the most extreme because you can get trainees who have literally come straight out of uni with no previous employment experience and they land in a highly formal, stressful and high performing corporate environment. Keep that in mind because everyones first job sucks but the legal transition can be particularly tough.

I think the best decision is to wait until your next seat, prioritise yourself (taking holidays etc as you have been doing) and if you aren't enjoying the current seat you are in (including perhaps the next one) then look at it in a different way - try and work on your writing skills, networking or business understanding during that seat. See it as a test in endurance. There are really practical ways to get you through a **** day at the office - put your headphones in and listen to a podcast, take an hour for lunch, go to the gym at some point.
Hi,

I agree. Now that Xmas has gone and we are in 2019 I have decided to stay in my TC. Whether or not I will be a lawyer post-qualification I dont know but it has gotten a bit better and, although the culture shock of partners and associates speaking to me like crap and making faces at anything I say still does shock me, it has seemed to subside and I am learning to live with it better.

Also, seat moves are in March so there is not much time left with this hell of a team.

Thanks
3
reply
AndrewMarkSP
Badges: 13
Rep:
?
#30
Report 2 months ago
#30
(Original post by Solicon)
Hi,

I agree. Now that Xmas has gone and we are in 2019 I have decided to stay in my TC. Whether or not I will be a lawyer post-qualification I dont know but it has gotten a bit better and, although the culture shock of partners and associates speaking to me like crap and making faces at anything I say still does shock me, it has seemed to subside and I am learning to live with it better.

Also, seat moves are in March so there is not much time left with this hell of a team.

Thanks
So happy to hear it's improved/improving!
0
reply
Crazy Jamie
Badges: 14
Rep:
?
#31
Report 2 months ago
#31
(Original post by Solicon)
Hi,

I agree. Now that Xmas has gone and we are in 2019 I have decided to stay in my TC. Whether or not I will be a lawyer post-qualification I dont know but it has gotten a bit better and, although the culture shock of partners and associates speaking to me like crap and making faces at anything I say still does shock me, it has seemed to subside and I am learning to live with it better.

Also, seat moves are in March so there is not much time left with this hell of a team.

Thanks
Great to hear that things are improving, even if only slightly. Hopefully that trend continues in your next seat.
0
reply
jacketpotato
Badges: 20
Rep:
?
#32
Report 2 months ago
#32
I am happy to hear that things are improving.

I can confirm that seat changes can make a huge difference. Both because you will be working with different people who may have a different outlook on life, and because you will know more when you start (some people do not make enough allowance for first seat trainees), and because you will be doing a different type of work that you might find more interesting.

Just grin and bear it until March. As a first seat trainee supervisor myself I really hope the next seat goes better for you.
0
reply
J-SP
Badges: 17
Rep:
?
#33
Report 2 months ago
#33
It’s not uncommon for the first seaters to get the crappy seats or at least the less popular ones.
Posted on the TSR App. Download from Apple or Google Play
0
reply
Solicon
Badges: 7
Rep:
?
#34
Report Thread starter 2 months ago
#34
(Original post by jacketpotato)
I am happy to hear that things are improving.

I can confirm that seat changes can make a huge difference. Both because you will be working with different people who may have a different outlook on life, and because you will know more when you start (some people do not make enough allowance for first seat trainees), and because you will be doing a different type of work that you might find more interesting.

Just grin and bear it until March. As a first seat trainee supervisor myself I really hope the next seat goes better for you.
I hope the next seat is better.

I think I'm getting better but people seem to give me hardly any work and instead give the paralegal so much. I queried it before and someone told me it's because the paralegal charges cheaper fees so they want to use him instead but literally I sit there with hardly anything to do. I feel now I could be utilised so much but people tend to ignore me even when I ask for work verbally and via email - literally had barely anything to do the past few days and its getting me so mad. I feel like they aren't even bothering to train me which is so bad considering I'm at a firm which is supposed to be one of the best.

Is this normal?
0
reply
J-SP
Badges: 17
Rep:
?
#35
Report 2 months ago
#35
(Original post by Solicon)
I hope the next seat is better.

I think I'm getting better but people seem to give me hardly any work and instead give the paralegal so much. I queried it before and someone told me it's because the paralegal charges cheaper fees so they want to use him instead but literally I sit there with hardly anything to do. I feel now I could be utilised so much but people tend to ignore me even when I ask for work verbally and via email - literally had barely anything to do the past few days and its getting me so mad. I feel like they aren't even bothering to train me which is so bad considering I'm at a firm which is supposed to be one of the best.

Is this normal?
Have you spoken to HR about this?
Posted on the TSR App. Download from Apple or Google Play
0
reply
jacketpotato
Badges: 20
Rep:
?
#36
Report 2 months ago
#36
(Original post by Solicon)
I hope the next seat is better.

I think I'm getting better but people seem to give me hardly any work and instead give the paralegal so much. I queried it before and someone told me it's because the paralegal charges cheaper fees so they want to use him instead but literally I sit there with hardly anything to do. I feel now I could be utilised so much but people tend to ignore me even when I ask for work verbally and via email - literally had barely anything to do the past few days and its getting me so mad. I feel like they aren't even bothering to train me which is so bad considering I'm at a firm which is supposed to be one of the best.

Is this normal?
Hi, sorry to hear about this.

I would not describe this situation as "normal". It is bad management. However, it does happen.

Law firms are not always very good at allocating work fairly among the team. An awful lot of law firms have a situation where some people are always very busy and other people are always quiet.

It is not unusual at all for first seat trainees to be quiet. At this stage of your career you are still very green. People often feel it is easier and quicker to do the work themselves, than it is to supervise the trainee.

It is common for people to give work to paralegal rather than trainees. This is often simply because the paralegal has been in the department longer so is more of a known quantity - people naturally prefer to work with people they know than people they don't. From the associate's perspective, it is easier to give work to a paralegal who already knows what they are doing than to take the risk of giving that work to an untested trainee or taking the time to explain it to them. This is definitely bad practice - part of the job of an associate is to involve trainees and take the time to explain things to them - but you can see how it happens.

Another possibility is that the department is simply overstaffed at the trainee/paralegal end. It does happen that a department is just quiet for the duration of your seat or that the department has hired too many junior people - for example if the department has hired a lot of newly qualified solicitors that will result in less work flowing down to trainees than in a department with lots of mid level and senior associates. The work pattern for trainees tends to be more up-and-down than the work pattern for associates, because during quiet periods associates often decide to do the junior level work themselves rather than delegating it so that they can meet their target hours !

My suggestion would be send an email around the department to say that you have capacity and that you would be happy to help if anyone needs assistance. It is also a good idea to do a floor walk round the department to tell the partners and associates that you have capacity and ask whether there is anything you can help with. Then at least you are demonstrating a good attitude. You can't do any more than that really.

To be honest I would not stress too much about this. If you have asked for work but still don't get enough, that isn't the end of the world. Just use the time to relax and do things like read the PLC weekly updates so at least you are building your technical knowledge. You can have a fresh start in your next seat.
Last edited by jacketpotato; 2 months ago
0
reply
Solicon
Badges: 7
Rep:
?
#37
Report Thread starter 2 months ago
#37
(Original post by jacketpotato)
Hi, sorry to hear about this.

I would not describe this situation as "normal". It is bad management. However, it does happen.

Law firms are not always very good at allocating work fairly among the team. An awful lot of law firms have a situation where some people are always very busy and other people are always quiet.

It is not unusual at all for first seat trainees to be quiet. At this stage of your career you are still very green. People often feel it is easier and quicker to do the work themselves, than it is to supervise the trainee.

It is common for people to give work to paralegal rather than trainees. This is often simply because the paralegal has been in the department longer so is more of a known quantity - people naturally prefer to work with people they know than people they don't. From the associate's perspective, it is easier to give work to a paralegal who already knows what they are doing than to take the risk of giving that work to an untested trainee or taking the time to explain it to them. This is definitely bad practice - part of the job of an associate is to involve trainees and take the time to explain things to them - but you can see how it happens.

Another possibility is that the department is simply overstaffed at the trainee/paralegal end. It does happen that a department is just quiet for the duration of your seat or that the department has hired too many junior people - for example if the department has hired a lot of newly qualified solicitors that will result in less work flowing down to trainees than in a department with lots of mid level and senior associates. The work pattern for trainees tends to be more up-and-down than the work pattern for associates, because during quiet periods associates often decide to do the junior level work themselves rather than delegating it so that they can meet their target hours !

My suggestion would be send an email around the department to say that you have capacity and that you would be happy to help if anyone needs assistance. It is also a good idea to do a floor walk round the department to tell the partners and associates that you have capacity and ask whether there is anything you can help with. Then at least you are demonstrating a good attitude. You can't do any more than that really.

To be honest I would not stress too much about this. If you have asked for work but still don't get enough, that isn't the end of the world. Just use the time to relax and do things like read the PLC weekly updates so at least you are building your technical knowledge. You can have a fresh start in your next seat.
Thank you very much I am glad I have made the decision to stay and the feedback from everyone on this thread has been amazing.
1
reply
Amatron
Badges: 1
Rep:
?
#38
Report 1 week ago
#38
Hi Solicon, I had to respond to your post. I am also a trainee hating my seat in commercial property too, though I have had a couple of years experience as a paralegal. My boss does not train me or explain things at all and I feel like I’m just supposed to know everything already. I am due to move seats in April, but will still need to be working with him a lot and I have just totally lost the love for it. Like you, I am trying to stick it out until I’m qualified but then want to move abroad anyway as I am sick of the UK. Just wanted to let you know that you are not the only one out there struggling!
0
reply
The West Wing
Badges: 18
Rep:
?
#39
Report 1 week ago
#39
(Original post by Amatron)
Hi Solicon, I had to respond to your post. I am also a trainee hating my seat in commercial property too, though I have had a couple of years experience as a paralegal. My boss does not train me or explain things at all and I feel like I’m just supposed to know everything already. I am due to move seats in April, but will still need to be working with him a lot and I have just totally lost the love for it. Like you, I am trying to stick it out until I’m qualified but then want to move abroad anyway as I am sick of the UK. Just wanted to let you know that you are not the only one out there struggling!
There's often no time to explain things and you are expected to be able to work things out for yourself. There's few things that you can't figure out from PLC or just by reading the documents and when you do have questions you should store them up for a time when your supervisor isn't being chased for things or busy trying to get docs out.

Each seat is different and I had several seats that I hated so don't worry.

It might be the firm as well. I strongly prefer my new firm and its culture to the firm I did my training contract with.
0
reply
Solicon
Badges: 7
Rep:
?
#40
Report Thread starter 1 week ago
#40
I'm in a corporate-focused seat now. I would definitely say my mental health has deteriorated a lot.
(Original post by Amatron)
Hi Solicon, I had to respond to your post. I am also a trainee hating my seat in commercial property too, though I have had a couple of years experience as a paralegal. My boss does not train me or explain things at all and I feel like I’m just supposed to know everything already. I am due to move seats in April, but will still need to be working with him a lot and I have just totally lost the love for it. Like you, I am trying to stick it out until I’m qualified but then want to move abroad anyway as I am sick of the UK. Just wanted to let you know that you are not the only one out there struggling!
0
reply
X

Quick Reply

Attached files
Write a reply...
Reply
new posts
Latest
My Feed

See more of what you like on
The Student Room

You can personalise what you see on TSR. Tell us a little about yourself to get started.

Personalise

Where do you need more help?

Which Uni should I go to? (164)
18.45%
How successful will I become if I take my planned subjects? (90)
10.12%
How happy will I be if I take this career? (148)
16.65%
How do I achieve my dream Uni placement? (129)
14.51%
What should I study to achieve my dream career? (85)
9.56%
How can I be the best version of myself? (273)
30.71%

Watched Threads

View All
Latest
My Feed