Trainee diary

The firm teaches you key skills: attention to detail and how to work alongside partners in a commercial setting.

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Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 1926 - 2022

   Tessa Butler

    Office location: London
    Departments to date: Commercial dispute resolution
    University: International – University of Technology, Sydney
    Degree: BA Communications, Major in Social and Political Science, GDL, LPC


9:00AM: Log in and check my calendar for the day to check any meetings that I have, and ensure I’ve completed any outstanding tasks related to those meetings, such as booking a meeting room. Then I check my emails. I use my inbox as an ongoing ‘to do’ list alongside my ‘daily tasks’ list, which I update throughout the day. 

9:30AM: I am assisting with a matter that has an upcoming application hearing before a Master at the Royal Courts of Justice. I have a call with the associate on the matter, and with counsel to discuss the finalisation of the bundle before it gets taken to the court in hard copy. I take an attendance note of the call for the file, making note of any next steps which have been agreed.

10:30AM: I finalise the note that I took of the call with counsel and begin actioning the points that we discussed. This involves using electronic bundling software to insert further relevant documents, as agreed with counsel, and arranging to have a hard copy of the bundle prepared by our floor support team for my review.

11:30AM: I have a catch-up call with an associate and a partner on another matter, and have been given instructions to prepare a ‘protective claim form’. This is a form which is filed with the court to start proceedings. It is a ‘protective claim form’ for this matter because there is a risk that the limitation period for the potential claim is about to expire. Issuing the claim form now will buy the client a further four months to serve it on the other side, or abandon the claim.

1:00PM: I join some of my colleagues in the Hub for lunch. The Hub is a collaborative working space on the ground floor of our building where there are tables and booths for working or dining, as well as a space where we host social events and training sessions.

2:00PM: The claim form which I drafted earlier has received sign off from the partner and the client, and is ready to be filed on CE File – the court’s online platform for filing documents and starting new claims. I make the filing, and update the client and my colleagues of the progress.

2:30PM: A senior associate asks for my assistance with researching a point of law, on ‘service outside of the jurisdiction’. I refer to the civil procedure rules, and Practical Law when preparing a note to present to the senior associate.

3:15PM: I respond to various emails relating to ongoing matters, such as following up quotes from counsel’s clerk and chasing a client for instructions.

3:30PM: I am a ‘first year trainee’ representative for ‘Pennfuture’, which is an initiative set up to give junior fee earners from different teams regular opportunities to get to know one another in an informal and sociable way. I attend a meeting with the other members of the committee to discuss the success of recent events, as well as the plans for any upcoming ones. We discuss dates for Christmas drinks as well as ideas for running a morning exercise class and a before-work brunch. 

4:00PM: A partner asks for my assistance with a new matter, and I am tasked with producing an engagement letter on Contract Express. This is a software we use to create standard form documents. After producing a first draft of the engagement letter, I have a quick call with the partner to review and make any necessary amendments to the letter before it is finalised and sent to the new client for execution.

4:45PM: I review my task list for the day and update it to ensure I have diarised any new deadlines and updated it ahead of tomorrow.

5:00PM:  I attend the monthly commercial dispute resolution ‘building blocks’ training session in the office. All members of the commercial dispute resolution team join this internal training, which focuses on different aspects of litigation and, in particular, the ‘business of law’. This month the training is on how ‘project management’ can be used to run litigation matters more efficiently and give the client the best service possible.

6:00PM: Following training, the team go to the Hub for drinks and snacks. This gives us an opportunity to meet members of the team who we haven’t yet worked with, and to wind down from the day generally.

Penningtons Manches Cooper LLP

Penningtons Manches Cooper LLP is a limited liability partnership registered in England and Wales with registered number OC311575 and is authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority under number 419867.

Penningtons Manches Cooper LLP