Anyone who has ever worked in any job for any length of time will have become very well-acquainted with our old friend we like to call "That Friday Feeling". It can be described as a combination of excitement that the weekend is fast approaching and wishing that 5pm would arrive without you actually having to do any of the work in between.
Well, today is a Friday. And yes, I'm excited about the weekend, but the buzz I get from doing my job means that I'm actually looking forward to the work I will do between now and 5pm. You're probably thinking that I'm a bit mad, but read on for a taster of what it is that makes me look forward to work every day.
I've just made it into the office after my refreshing, daily half-hour walk in. One of the best things about living and working in Bristol is that most trainees live within walking distance from the office, which is not only great for the social side of things but also avoids having to play sardines with strangers on the tube every morning.
First thing I do when I get to my desk? Make myself a cup of tea. I don't know about you but I struggle to function without tea. Don't worry; unlike many firms, as a trainee here you won't be expected to take on the role of tea-maker (nor will you be chained to the photocopier or a glorified proof-reader). There's no sense of hierarchy which means I get made tea by associates and partners every day and everyone is happy to take five minutes to enjoy their cup of tea with you and catch up on how you're doing.
Once I've settled myself with my cup of tea and logged on, a weekly reminder pops up in my diary to update my training contract record. This is something that the SRA requires trainees to keep but it's also a really useful record for you to keep track of what kind of work you've been involved with and the progress you're making. So, wilfully obedient to my diary reminders, I review my work for the week and update away.
Almost as soon as I've finished, an email from my supervisor appears on my screen approving a draft letter I prepared on a really interesting matter. I'm currently doing a Commercial seat and I have done a lot of data protection work which is very topical; I really enjoy being able to spot elements of my work in day-to-day life, and vice versa.
This particular matter involves personal information being unlawfully published on a website. As there are potential defamation and breach of data protection and confidentiality claims, I'm working with the Disputes Resolution team, which has given me a great opportunity to get to know people from a different team within the firm. The Commercial team is advising on the data protection implications which have turned out to be more wide-ranging than we originally thought.
It has been quite urgent and we've had to turn things around in just a couple of days. I love working in a fast-paced way though and there is always the support available to make sure that you don't panic or get too stressed. Even so, it's a relief to have my draft letter approved and to be able to send it out to the client within the promised timescale.
One of the many things I am really enjoying about my seat is that I'm getting the chance to do a lot of Business Development work, such as writing updates for clients and articles for publications. It's great to do something a bit different and to see how another side of the business works.
We have recently advised a client on online advertising (see, I told you it was topical) and as this is something that could be of wider interest both to clients in TLT's Retail sector and to others in the legal profession, we've decided to pitch to some publications to see if we can get an article into one of them. Opportunities like this are fantastic as they enable you to get your name and your work into a legal journal.
I will write the articles at a later stage but for now we just need a short pitch to send off to the media and that's what I sit down to prepare (with another cup of tea).
Once I've sent the pitch to our Business Development team, I turn to some data protection work. We are currently conducting a Privacy Impact Assessment for a client; this is a process designed to establish the impact the project might have on individuals' privacy and on the organisation's reputation and come up with solutions to mitigate any risks. It is currently only a recommendation but it is potentially due to become a legal requirement soon.
We've therefore used this opportunity to increase TLT's know-how on the process. TLT has a firm-wide Knowledge Management system that trainees are encouraged to contribute to and as well as preparing documents that are specific to this particular client, I am also creating TLT templates that will be added to this system.
Next on the agenda is a fairly simple task – reviewing and finalising a report that was prepared jointly by several of us in the team to make sure it is ready to send out to the client. The report is on the Green Deal, which you might have heard of as it is a government scheme put in place to enable people to make energy efficiency improvements to their properties where they might not otherwise have been able to do so.
One of the best things about moving seats is that you get a wider picture of the firm as a whole and you can see how different areas of law link together. I am in the process of preparing a client briefing on a recent monetary penalty issued by the Information Commissioner's Office and the work has actually come through one of the Real Estate partners. I've done the bulk of it and now just need to finish the content and make sure that it's tailored to the clients it is aimed at.
When you start as a trainee you will quickly learn that one of the most important parts of advising clients is striking the right tone for the particular client(s) you are targeting the advice to. This comes from building a good relationship with clients and getting to know and understand them as well as you possibly can.
I'm fully engrossed in my work when my buddy pops over to my desk ready to head out for our buddy lunch. TLT has a good buddying scheme; when you first start as a trainee, you are "buddied" with one of the junior solicitors, who is there for any questions you might have or any support you might need.
What with TLT being in the heart of the legal quarter of Bristol, there are lots of great little cafes to choose from. However, as a trainee in Bristol you will become very familiar with the Bristol-renowned Friska, and that's where Kate and I decide to head today (top tip: best halloumi wraps ever.)
Full of halloumi and ready to face the afternoon, I head back to my desk (obligatory cup of tea in hand) to get stuck into some research on Procurement. "Procurement" is one of those words that you hear around a lot and you're never quite sure what it actually means. It's basically the process of obtaining goods and services and I've been tasked with doing some research into the EU Procurement Rules. This is quite a complicated area but I enjoy research; it's a great way to improve your knowledge of the law in general and also of specialist areas.
My desk is next to one of the partners who deals with a lot of Competition law and at around 4pm he asks me if I have five minutes to talk about some Competition work. I've always been interested in Competition and so, having made tea for us both (are you noticing a pattern?) I sit down for a chat with him.
One of TLT's big sectors is Energy and Renewables. Again, this is very topical and you may well have seen in the news this week that the Office of Fair Trading is proposing to refer the energy markets to the Competition regulator. As this is relevant to some of our energy clients, we will be preparing an update on this issue and I have been asked to draft it. It will be quite a substantial update with a fair amount of background reading so I spend my last hour and a half getting my head around the concepts ready to start drafting next week.
Now, as I said at the beginning, I enjoy my job and my work. But I look forward to the weekend as much as the next person, and the social side of working at TLT is great. Every Friday at around 5:30pm you can be sure to find a big group of TLT-ers in Toto's, a great little bar on the river, and this is my next destination. Time for another cup of tea, you ask? Nah – it's been a busy week, it's Friday and I think I'll treat myself to a little bit of G with my T.
Emma joined us for her training contract in September 2013 having studied Law at Nottingham University and the LPC at the University of Law in Bristol.