When I joined Brodies in August 2020, my second seat seemed like a distant prospect. Moving to a new seat and starting afresh in a new practice area is exciting, but it can also be daunting. Now I'm in my second seat, I thought this would be a good time to reflect on my traineeship so far and to share some advice about preparing for the traineeship and changing seats.

My first seat

Like most trainees, I faced my first day full of nerves and apprehension. My first seat was in Real Estate, working with two different teams. Although I had studied commercial property on the diploma, this was a practice area where I knew very little and I had no idea what to expect, or what would be expected of me. However, I needn't have worried. From day one, my colleagues were incredibly supportive, taking the time to explain transactions to me and allocating tasks which would enable me to build the necessary foundational skills. With their support, I then progressed to more complex tasks and, by the end of my seat, I had responsibility for my own matters.

The big move

Reaching the end of my first seat was bittersweet. The time had flown by, I had become more involved in the work, and had formed good relationships with colleagues. I enjoyed having more responsibility and making a more meaningful contribution. While I was excited at the prospect of a new practice area and working with new people, I didn't relish the prospect of another 'day 1'.

To prepare, I spoke with a trainee who had been in the seat that I was going into. This gave me a flavour for the type of work I would be involved with and the team structure. It was also an opportunity to get some burning questions and worries off my chest. I also reviewed my diploma notes and read blogs to remind myself of key concepts, and to build my awareness of common questions and considerations when advising clients. Taking the time to prepare helped me to settle into my new seat more quickly and to feel more at ease.

My second seat

My second seat is in Personal and Family, a completely different practice area from my first seat. Initially, it was daunting to be given responsibility for my own matters from the get-go and to speak with clients one-on-one. However, 'day 1 take 2' is a much easier experience than your very first day. You're already familiar with internal systems and will have picked up useful tips from colleagues on client communication and managing your own workload. There's still a lot to learn but rather than starting from scratch, you build on the skills developed during the previous eight months.

Top tips

  • Don't be afraid to ask questions. Everyone knows you're new to the team and will be happy to help. Be willing to ask questions from the beginning and take on board feedback; it's a great way to learn from those around you.
  • Don't shy away from the unknown. It is amazing how much you can learn by taking on unfamiliar work and by seeking out new opportunities. If there's an area you're particularly interested in, let your colleagues know and they will find ways to give you that experience.
  • Enjoy it! Working with different teams and experiencing different practice areas is a special aspect of your traineeship and you may surprise yourself as to what you enjoy most. Keep an open mind and make the most of all opportunities available to you.


    Emma Barnett

    Trainee Solicitor