The process of acclimatising to life as a trainee is an interesting one. You go from having the freedom of a scattered timetable to sitting at a desk for most of your day. Here are some tips to help aid your transition from student to trainee.

The '9am - Finish' Life

Probably one of the biggest shocks is finding the stamina to work 9am - finish. Unfortunately, the university lifestyle and timetable will undo the vigorous routine you are moulded into during school, which can make the first few weeks as a trainee quite difficult. You must resist the temptation of that afternoon nap usually taken after your favourite daytime programme (mine was Homes Under the Hammer).

This is one of many reasons to have a part time job during university, as you're conditioning your body and mind to work for longer durations from an early stage.

Managing Deadlines

Another change is managing many conflicting deadlines where there are no extenuating circumstances for extensions!

For this I recommend getting into the habit of using lists and plans as early as possible. These will enable you to better manage your time by monitoring what deadlines are approaching and mapping out the key deliverables of tasks.

Attention to detail

The last major change relates to the accuracy of your work. We all feel our eye for detail is sufficient at university, but once you're a trainee your work must be 100% accurate as the firm's reputation and client's money is on the line.

To ensure this I recommend proof reading something and thereafter printing it (as printing at the office is free) if a colleague isn't available to double check. I've discovered that reviewing a document in paper format makes it much easier to spot mistakes than staring at a computer screen.

In sum, there is much to learn when you transition from student to trainee, but following the above tips and those of acquaintances will help make the journey easier.


Jake Stephen

Trainee at Brodies LLP