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Harriet Collins describes a day in the life of a second-year trainee at Russell-Cooke.
8.30am: I arrive at the office earlier than usual as I am heading to court this morning to attend a first directions appointment in connection with a financial dispute on divorce. I'm based in our Bedford Row office which is between Bloomsbury and Covent Garden, which is a short walk to the law courts and barristers' chambers. I begin the day by checking my emails and update my task list accordingly. I then spend the next 20 minutes ensuring I have copies of all the necessary documents I need to take with me.
9.00am: I leave with the supervising partner and we walk to the Central Family Court just a few minutes away from the office. The judge has a number of hearings listed before him so we are not going to be called on before 11am. This gives us time to discuss the directions we are seeking in more detail with the client and counsel. The partner returns to the office before we head into court as I am sufficiently familiar with the case and I have already had a great deal of contact with the client.
11.00am: We are called before the judge and I take a verbatim note of the submissions from both sets of counsel and the order handed down. This includes an order to entrust an expert to value the matrimonial home.
12.00pm: Once out of court, I stop to pick up some lunch. There are a wide variety of places to choose from. When the weather is nice, Lincoln's Inn Fields is also a great place to catch up with my fellow trainees over a picnic.
12.45pm: When I am back in the office, I meet with the partner for a debrief who is keen to hear my thoughts on how the morning went. We discuss the next steps that need to be taken and how I can assist with moving the matter forward.
1.00pm: Following the debrief, I diarise the upcoming deadlines and prepare a detailed email to the client summarising what action needs to be taken and when.
1.30pm: I check my emails again to see what has been received while I was at court. There are a few emails from other partners and associates in the team with tasks for me to assist on. As the only trainee in the department, I am exposed to a wide range of work. This is great experience, but I always ensure that I have capacity before accepting a task.
2.00pm: This afternoon, I have set aside time to prepare a Form E. This is the key financial disclosure document in divorce proceedings and sets out the client's assets, income and needs. I spend time drafting the Form E and collating the enclosures while also preparing an email to the client setting out what information and documentation is still missing. I then send this to the partner to review before it goes to the client.
4.00pm: I take a call from a client who is due to have a mediation session tomorrow. The client wants to discuss a pension report that has come in. I have already reviewed the report and discussed it with the partner and can therefore discuss with the client what may be a sensible agreement in terms of sharing the pension pot.
4.45pm: I leave Bedford Row to head to our Putney headquarters for our monthly trainee meeting. We are encouraged to participate in marketing and business development and the meetings are a great opportunity to get together and catch up as well as to discuss networking opportunities and the promotion of the firm. It is also a good opportunity to raise any problems we have experienced.
5.30pm: After our meeting, we all head to a nearby pub to catch up. The firm is very social and there are a number of clubs that trainees can participate in during lunch time or after work. As a group, we get together regularly and there are plenty of organised socials ranging from drinks and dinner to more exciting activities such as a trip to the trampoline park.
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