The words everyone wants to hear at 5 p.m. on a Friday afternoon, 'Isn't it time for you to leave to get ready for the ball?' I felt like Cinderella, though obviously I would never attend the office dressed in rags and I am not required to spend my day cleaning.
The Junior Lawyers Division in Bristol is an active society which represents students, trainee solicitors and PQE solicitors up to five years qualified. The society organises events such as pub quizzes, pay day drink events and the annual law ball. This year, I arranged for 20 TLT trainees, NQ solicitors and junior solicitors to attend the summer ball. I booked two tables and told everyone to don their glad rags. Everyone looked great and when we met at the Royal Marriott Hotel on College Green, there was a real buzz in the air about what the night would bring.
We were welcomed with a glass of bubbly and congregated in the bar area. One of the great things about being in Bristol is that there will be numerous other trainees who either went to Uni here or studied the GDL and LPC here. It is likely you will know a few people in the room other than your colleagues and even if you don't know anybody other than your trainee intake if you are new to Bristol, people in Bristol are very friendly and chances are your colleagues will introduce you to their Uni and College friends. We sat down for a three course meal and tucked into pate, beef roast and chocolate tart. The wine on the table didn't last long and it was soon time to start ordering rounds. Once the tables were cleared there were speeches and then the dance floor opened up with a live band. Before long, everyone was up dancing.
I spotted a photo booth at the start of the night and had the brilliant idea to see how many TLTers we could fit into the booth for a team photo. We helped ourselves to the dress up box next to the booth and donned ridiculous glasses, hats, moustaches and tiaras. We squeezed about 15 in successfully and most of our faces were in the photo. The booth was supposed to be limited to 10 people…
As all 'good' nights do, the night inevitably ended up in La Rocca, a cheesy nightclub located on the popular Triangle area. This is where a lot of TLT socials end up at the end of a night out. The club is also popular with other Bristol firms and you inevitably bump into other trainees (and partners) on a Friday night. All in all, it was a fantastic night out with lots of fun and team spirit.
There are also lots of other 'ball' related activities to get involved in as a trainee. I have attended numerous bowling socials at the infamous 'Lanes', once going two weeks in a row for a Construction social and later a Banking social. Unfortunately, the practice didn't do much to improve my game. TLT also has various sports teams to offer such as netball, football and softball. I have signed up to both netball and softball and played my first mixed netball match yesterday. The mixed netball is a round robin event with 10 minute games played against other Bristol law firms. There must be a minimum of two boys on the team; trying to explain the rules of netball to the boys is always a hoot and 'footwork' is always received by the boys as a tricky concept.
The social life at TLT ensures that you get to know not only the other trainees, but also the NQ's and junior solicitors of the firm. This means that when it comes to seat rotation, it is likely you will know a couple of friendly faces on your floor and you really start to feel like you are a part of the wider firm. After all, no one sees a training contract as an end in itself and the aim is to qualify here with a great support network for your next steps as an NQ.
Mandy joined us as a trainee in September 2013 having studied Law at Bristol University. She studied her LPC part-time at the University of Law in Bristol, while working as a Case Handler at TLT.