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My name is Katie and I am a first year trainee. I am currently undertaking my second seat in the Corporate department at Forbes, having spent my first seat in the Commercial team.
The Corporate team assist businesses around the UK in a number of corporate matters, such as restructuring, debt and equity finance, mergers and acquisitions, business finance, joint ventures and corporate advisory matters. As a Tier 1 ranked department in the Legal 500, I knew a seat in this department would provide me with a great learning opportunity for my legal career moving forwards.
From the offset of my Corporate seat I was afforded with a lot of responsibility and client contact. I was immediately negotiating, drafting and liaising with clients from all stages of a corporate transaction. Having moved from the Commercial department also based at the Oak House office, I was lucky enough to already know the team and I had an understanding of the type of clients I would be working with. Nevertheless I was given time to adjust to my new team working dynamic and to train in the new Corporate and IT systems. My supervisor had a very hands on approach and I was invited to numerous client meetings and training sessions to advance my learning and corporate experience.
During by second week of my training contract, the impacts of COVID-19 meant that we had to set up at home. Given I had only spent a week in the department, I was apprehensive as to how the team dynamic was going to change and the impact, if any it would have on my learning. Instead, I found that the team simply adapted. Face-to-face catch ups were replaced with conference and video calls, my client contact was not compromised, and team morale was high. Take a look at my daily 'working from home' schedule below:
Pre-work: Every morning starts with a coffee! I've been taking up yoga since the gym have shut as a new challenge, so I normally do about 20 minutes before I open my laptop and commence working.
AM: Once I've organised my emails I always create a to do list and schedule tasks for the day, ranking them in priority. I have a 9am call scheduled with my supervisor every day for additional support and guidance, and to ensure that I have a thorough understanding of what is expected of me.
Mid Morning: All of the commercial trainees each take turn to attend a local Business Clinic to network and offer practical advice for businesses, of all sizes and types. Despite COVID-19 disrupting the presence of physical meetings, we've managed to switch to online conference calls! I attend this clinic as a Consulting Practitioner, and it has been exciting to participate in peer working sessions, supporting the Lancashire Business community at such an uncertain and unprecedented time.
Lunchtime: As part of my lunchtime routine I've been making the most of spending time with my family or doing something active like a family Zumba session or a 30 minute circuit. We all usually check in as a team at this time and keep each other updated as to how our days are going.
Afternoon: I have another conference call with my Supervisor to go through my tasks and completed work. Once I've had my conference call I usually spend the afternoon undertaking Corporate work. The work is incredibly varied and so my typical work during the day can range from due diligence and drafting ancillary documentation, negotiating corporate agreements, drafting and producing reports on corporate documents and advising on a range of corporate matters. All of this runs alongside attending video meetings and conference calls with clients, exchanging emails and calls within my department and keeping up to date with new and progressing matters. Depending on my capacity for the day, I may spend late afternoon researching the ongoing impact of COVID-19 on businesses to provide useful digital content for our clients.
PM: Post work I've been making the most of time in the evening, and have been doing a 10,000 steps a day challenge (whether by run or walk) to keep my mind focused!
Despite the challenges of COVID-19, I feel well supported and confident through my seat transition. Teamwork has been at the forefront of ongoing change, and the Training Principal has communicated clearly and regularly with all trainees moving forwards. My training structure has changed meaning that I am now supported by three Associates in my department, because of this I am still receiving a diverse range of work to complete and constant feedback to progress my development. I also feel lucky to work for an organisation who are able to adapt with well supported IT systems, with over 90% of us logging on to the online server and continuing to provide a high level of service to our clients. The Corporate department and the trainees also continue to socialise and check in with one and other via lunchtime 'pub quizzes', jokes of the day and Friday 'online' drinks. COVID or no COVID Forbes provides a very diverse, friendly and approachable culture which has greatly enhanced my training contract experience. I look forward to continuing with my training contract with the firm whilst assisting businesses at this difficult time.