Trainee Solicitor - Catrin Howells

19th July 2017

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My first day as a trainee was a bag of mixed emotions, I was overcome with nerves, excitement and enthusiasm. I joined Geldards having just completed my time at University, and at that time, office life to me was a foreign concept and I was apprehensive of heading straight into the ‘big, bad world’ of working life.

As soon as I saw the other trainees sat in the reception, all looking smart, it was a big sigh of relief that I was not alone and the nerves soon disappeared. I was now ready to start my career. Our first week at the office was a week of trainee celebrations; we were invited to various lunches and dinners to welcome us to the firm and went on a mini break to other Geldards offices across the country to become acquainted with our fellow colleagues, it was great. During this week, we also had essential training on the computer system and the processes of the firm in preparation for starting our first seat. This week of ‘getting to know the firm’ was great preparation and crucial for ensuring a smooth transition into the workplace. It was also great to get to know my fellow trainees, as I have learnt that they are invaluable to me, not only to share experiences but being able to ask for support and to pool our knowledge.

I was of course then apprehensive of the thought of leaving my fellow trainees after being inseparable for a whole week and embarking on my first week at my very own desk. I soon discovered, that there was no need to be worried, as the department were more than welcoming and very willing to help as they all understood that being new is not easy, when even locating the printer paper is a difficult task! I am now nearing the end of my second seat, and on reflection of my first year at Geldards, I couldn’t have asked for a better start. I have progressed both interpersonal and legal skills and hope to continue to develop these further in my final year as a trainee.

When I am asked by my family and friends ‘how was work?’ and ‘what did you get up to today?’, I never seem to give the same answer as no day here is the same. My working day varies from day to day, some days I can be attending meetings 9-5, other days I can be drafting witness statements, letters of advice or researching particular aspects of the law. One of the most important tasks as a trainee is case management, ensuring that I know exactly what is going on with each case so that I can assist my team if an issue pops up or if there is work to be undertaken. It is important that your team can rely on you at all times and thinking ahead is a great skill so that you try and be as prepared as possible (although some things are never foreseeable!). Some tasks may be challenging, but you can always be sure that they will be rewarding. Whatever my day brings, I make sure that I have arrived at work early enough to make a strong cup of tea and get on top of any emails sent through over-night, so that I am prepared to tackle any task and assist my supervisors, accordingly. Keeping on top of your work is absolutely essential and there is no greater satisfaction than ticking the last task on your ‘to do list’.

A big bonus of being a trainee at Geldards is that they offer optional training during the lunch hour with food provided. Not only is the food great but it’s a fantastic way of keeping up with the law, seeing fellow colleagues outside of your immediate team and preparing yourself for future trainee seats – it’s an all-round package.




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Catrin Howells


Trainee Solicitor, Cardiff

+44 (0)29 2039 1843