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Solicitor Sumer Rana at Hammersmith firm, Hubbard Pegman and Whitney Solicitors looks back on what it was like to be a trainee solicitor during the pandemic.
A feeling everyone collectively shared during the global pandemic was the feeling of uncertainty. All of sudden, there were no guarantees. The feelings of uncertainty were shared in all different areas of life such as health, loved ones and work. For me all three were affected by Covid-19.
I was made a trainee solicitor pre pandemic and I qualified as a solicitor during the novel, unprecedented global pandemic.
It is safe to say that everyone in legal realm relies heavily on precedents. However, there were no precedents for what was going on which is why the pandemic was labelled as ‘novel’ and ‘unprecedented’. I think we all twitch when we read these adjectives now. Imagine, you could not type into Google ‘what to do as a trainee about to become a NQ Solicitor during a pandemic.’ Trust me I tried and shockingly enough zero results came up. I know I was not alone in facing this feeling of uncertainty and there were a few other unfortunate souls who were also trapped in this state of limbo with me, nevertheless, it was an isolating feeling. All of a sudden, I went from working intensively from 5 days a week to being fully furloughed.
Whilst I can go on about the negatives, I am trying to keep this article short and I must say there were a few positive moments. My firm agreed to extend my training contract, so when it was safe to do so I ended up coming back to the office part time to do my final seat in property. My training in property was excellent as Peter Augustine, the Head of Property was keen for me to learn as much as possible to make up for the months I lost.
I ended up doing my PSC whilst I was furloughed and I did this online. Some people do not like online studying but I personally loved it. I did not have to travel into central London and worry about the delays on the Piccadilly line. I got to be in loungewear all day and no one could judge me for the amount of cuppas I made during the breaks. I also got to experience sitting an online exam which was the strangest exam I have ever sat especially when the programme took an unflattering photograph of me holding my ID. It would have been nice if they had an option for a photo filter.
I worked hard and my firm offered to keep me on after my training contract. I know so many other trainees were let go and I sympathise with my peers and I hope they have found new places now. I am now working as a NQ Solicitor in the private client department.
Finally, the time had come to get admitted onto the roll. At long last, I got the email confirming that I was admitted to the roll of Solicitors in November 2020. My training contract was well over 2 years. Like I said at the start of this article, I started as a trainee pre-pandemic and I ended up as a solicitor mid pandemic. I guess not many people can say that.