The Pro’s and Con’s of Moving from Paralegal to Trainee

It is an odd experience to be writing my first trainee blog as, contrary to the usual trainee stereotype, I am very familiar with Woodfines having worked as a paralegal here for a number of years. Whilst I know the firm, that’s not to say that I know everything about the law. Indeed, the first three months of my training contract have taught me the extensive knowledge and experience which Woodfines can offer to its clients.

I have worked in our Commercial Property department for the past three years, during which I have acquired a familiarity with that area of law and have developed a practical edge to help clients. I found that, in commercial property legal work, one should facilitate the deal. Unless otherwise instructed, I found the main role was one of ‘deal maker, not deal breaker’.

However, I have now spent three months working with the firm’s Dispute Resolution team in Cambridge. It is a change of mind-set, as well as a change of department. Instead of reviewing leases, I have moved to helping insolvency practitioners recoup money for their clients or providing research on a directors’ dispute.

I am therefore a little envious of my trainee colleagues who have just come into the firm; perhaps they are not accustomed to a certain way of working. In fact, I would go as far as to say that this is a big advantage for any new trainees out there! Don’t be afraid of being new; it will work in your favour as long as you are keen to learn.

That said, there are definitely advantages that come with the experience of being a paralegal. Not only will you be used to a certain department (and the work they habitually deal with), but you will have more of an idea of how a law firm works. Ultimately, the client is at the heart of everything you will do, but it’s valuable to put this mantra into practice.

In the end, the transition to a litigious department has been fairly seamless. Woodfines has a welcoming, friendly and knowledgeable environment in all of its four offices and I am looking forward to the next three months in this seat. Now, back to researching limitation periods in different insolvency claims…

Until next time!