Photo Edward Patton Col

Ed Patton describes his typical day as a trainee: 

9.00am: I make the short walk to my 'office' in the front room of my one bed flat. I stop off via the kitchen for my usual order of tea and porridge. No commute is a major benefit of the lockdown, but there's a corresponding drop in the range of options available on my way to work. I eat breakfast while reviewing my matter list and emails. There is nothing urgent so I make a start on some ongoing tasks.

9.30am: The team had been working on a high-profile professional disciplinary matter for almost a year when I began my seat. I've been monitoring media mentions, but as it reaches its conclusion I'm doing a cost review of time spent on court applications. With seven fee-earners and two outside counsel, there's a lot to consider. Categorising items correctly requires an understanding of the whole matter so I spend time reading meeting notes, emails and key documents.

11.00am: After making tea, I turn to a cold enquiry received via the website. The lockdown has given people time to consider past or ongoing disputes and do something about them. Disputes involving commercial contracts, car leases, harassment and investment property have crossed my desk. Many pre-date the current situation; some are a direct result of the lockdown. I call the enquirer who emails some documents. I review these and request a conflict check before passing a summary to my supervisor to calculate a fee estimate.

11.30am: We currently have two matters which require service outside the jurisdiction. I research the relevant timeframes, the delays those jurisdictions are experiencing due to the outbreak and the correct procedure at the foreign process section.

12.15pm: I have always been one for an early lunch. I try to spend some time outside daily, whether making a purposeful trip to a shop or just walking around the block. However, sometimes the combination of preparation time for an overly extravagant lunch and/or poor weather proves too much of a deterrent. This is one of those days.

1.15pm: I return to my desk. In my absence, the new enquirer is keen to proceed. I make sure we have everything necessary to open a new file and start reading in.

2.00pm: We have a weekly Zoom team meeting which is helpful to understand what everyone is working on. As a trainee I'm often sent new matters as a result. Unfortunately, the virtual backgrounds have thwarted our chances of seeing inside our senior partner's house. Today he appears to be dialling in from an exotic beach, but this seems unlikely.

3.00pm: I call a client with an update on his case. His company was being pursued for a debt in relation to a contract that was never agreed. Our robust response is likely to be the last of the matter. He expresses an interest in discussing a further issue with our corporate and commercial team. I make arrangements.

4.00pm: We have had a response to a pre-action letter I wrote a few weeks before. The client is a private school and the claim relates to the hiring of various temporary structures when the school was being renovated. I consider the response received and prepare a summary for discussion with my supervisor.

4.30pm: With trainees spread over three offices, it's important to bring everyone together regularly. The working from home regime presents new challenges: not just lack of proximity, but also the varying schedules and workloads in different departments. Today we catch up via Zoom for our monthly meeting. We've had an online quiz and are working on other ideas for online social options.

6.00pm: Given that I didn't get out at lunchtime, after completing the last urgent tasks of the day I ensure that I get outside to the local park to enjoy the sunshine.