Having practised as a newly qualified solicitor in a mixture of Family Law and Civil Litigation at a mainly legally-aided firm in Romford, my move to Leigh on Sea at the beginning of October was a real change. Although I was sad to leave Romford, I was excited to get stuck into a caseload of Civil Litigation – landlord and tenant, breach of contract, personal injury, boundary disputes, debt, clinical negligence and Judicial Review all waited for me in my new role!
The first day I met my supervising Partner and I was handed my caseload. He told me not to panic as he was going to supervise me and provide any assistance while I settled in. While it was initially daunting being handed an existing caseload to run, I found the cases interesting, challenging and they opened my eyes to what awaits me at my new firm.
A few days after joining I had the experience of seeing how a Lexcel audit is carried out. My last firm was not Lexcel accredited so this was a first for me. The partners, associates and other members of staff were involved in lengthy meetings with a representative from the Law Society. A number of our files were also audited to ensure the firm had complied with their obligations to Lexcel and the whole process seemed very thorough. Part of being accredited means that you have to undergo stringent annual audits and it was a very busy couple of days for most people in the firm. Fortunately, the auditor had mercy on me and decided not to question me on my first few days! The firm passed the audit with flying colours and the remain Lexcel accredited for a further year.
Another first for me was that Giles Wilson was recently shortlisted for the Law Society Excellence Awards. Again, this was a first for me as I do not think I have ever even dealt with a firm in receipt of such a prestigious nomination, let alone worked at one. The day after the Lexcel audit, the partners and associates went to the awards ceremony in London, which was attended mainly by large city firms. Although the firm did not receive the excellence award for their category, they were runners-up and received a Highly Commended Award instead. This certainly was an impressive achievement! Good times were had by the partners and associates at the awards evening too.
At the end of my first week, I reflected on it. It had not been a baptism of fire but an entry to a busy law firm with huge ambitions to become a big-hitter in the local area and the region. So far as the caseload is concerned, I’m still cracking on with it and getting to know the clients, their cases and trying to settle their disputes in a timely manner. Many more years await me at my new firm, and I’m looking forward to whatever challenges are thrown at me.