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What Training Will I Get During My Training Contract – Whiteboard Wednesday

by Kirsty Wilkins, Professional Development Manager

Transcript – What Training Will I Get During My Training Contract?

Hello and welcome to this edition of Whiteboard Wednesday. We’re going to be looking at the topic of, “What Training Will I Get During My Training Contract?”

Professional Skills Course

So, to start off, after your law degree and then the LPC or your non-law degree and the GDL and then the LPC, you will start the Professional Skills Course or the PSC. This is a way of taking the knowledge that you’ve got at that point and putting it into a client perspective.

So looking at what client standards are and what the regulations are. There’s lots different types of PSC, depending on the type of firm that you’re going to go to. Here at Shearman, we ask people to do things like advocacy, business and financial skills, and client communication. That takes place, it’s usually around eight days in total, but usually split over a week period, and then later doing another one day.

Depending on the firm, will depend when you do this. When I was a trainee solicitor, my firm wanted me to do it after about a year, and so I did a year of training contract and then I did my PSC. Here at Shearman we actually front load the Professional Skills Course. So we get you to do that before you join us, usually in the August before you join in the September, so that you’re not taking any time out of your two-year training with us.


So moving on from the Professional Skills Course, you’ve actually joined your firm, and the majority, nearly all firms will do some sort of induction. So that’s an introduction to the firm that you have joined. It can give you lots of information about the type of practice groups that they have, the history of the firm. It will also give you some really important skills in terms of IT skills.

So, you all have used Word and Excel and phones for various things, but not everyone has used them in a work context, and that’s a really important differential. So, what the induction does is really give you that ability to look at Word and look at the different opportunities and skills that gives you to work on more complex technical documents, which you’re going to need in a training contract and which you probably wouldn’t have needed to have done before.

As an example in the induction that we run here at Shearman, it’s about six days in length all together and we run everything from how to work with a PA and make the most use out of that, how to time record. Time recording is something that most people have not come across before and have never had to do. So getting that right, right at the beginning is really important.

Seat Rotation Training

Moving on, we have seat rotation training. So usually when you’ve done a seat in whatever practice group you are in and you move into a different seat, that practice group will give you some training on the types of things you would be really useful for you to know going into that practice group. So they will welcome you to the group, they’ll point you to the correct resources, they’ll give you the top kind of things that you need to learn technically to give you a really good start into that practice group.

We do that usually as everyone moves in and sometimes the groups can be as little as two or three people. So it’s really small groups and it allows people to ask the questions without any embarrassment. But making sure that by the end of that kind of first week in the practice group, they’re not stuckā€¦people aren’t stuck thinking, “Oh gosh. What do I do?”

They actually have that knowledge to make them really useful members of the team.

Practice Group Training

And then moving on, there is constantly practice group training, so whatever practice groups in the firm will run training constantly looking at updates to their areas of law, looking at things like deals that they’re currently working on. And they will look at those as a group and usually invite everyone in the practice group plus trainees that might be coming into that group or trainees that might have moved out of that group in case that’s the consideration for qualification for them.

So there’s a huge amount of practice group training going on all the time. At the moment, I’m arranging a practice group training session for our PDF practice group on the subject of the Nigerian power sector, just as an example.

Office-Wide Training

And then moving on we have office-wide training. So just looking at that, that’s training that’s put on for everyone in the entire firm, regardless of who they are.

In terms of Shearman, we do a lot on diversity and inclusion training. We do a lot on mental health training. We might do things for all the lawyers in any practice group on things like understanding accounts or refreshing accounts. Because for some practice groups, that’s really important and it can be very different from having done it in the early stages of the training as to having done it much later.

So lots of office-wide training going on all the time, which you would always be encouraged to kind of join in with.

NQ Induction Training

And then finally, at the other end of the training contract, most firms will do some sort of NQ induction training for the newly qualified lawyers. So here it looks at that transitional period between being a trainee and moving over to being a newly qualified associate.

What are the differences in terms of the work? What are the differences in terms of where you want to be and how you get there? What are the differences in terms of pay, benefits, taxation, all those sorts of things. We run about three sessions for our NQs dealing with things like that and we also have a panel discussion with the previous year’s NQs looking at the challenges they faced, different ways they found of doing things, and just giving hints and tips to the new set of newly qualified lawyers coming through.

So that’s the kind of end of the training process for our trainees before we go on and start to progress with our associates, and our counsel, and our partners and the training that they do. So that’s it for this edition of Whiteboard Wednesday. I hope you found it really useful and we’ll see you again next time.

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What Training Will I get During My Training Contract