When I finally arrived at my new desk for the first day of my first seat, around 2 and a half years after initially applying, I didn’t fully know what to expect. We’d had induction talks, but putting the theory into practice felt very different. Now, with the benefit of hindsight, I write my 3 ‘Top Tips’ for new joiners:
1)WRITE IT ALL DOWN
Often what will seem like one task will have several smaller sub-tasks involved. Unless you have an astonishing memory (which I don’t), it will be difficult to keep on top of each element of a matter that you’ve been asked to help on. I’ve found it incredibly helpful to always have notebook and pen, and write pretty much everything I was told down. I used to think this would make me look bad, especially while someone was talking to me. On the contrary, the partners really appreciate when you do this. Not only does it keep you organised, it reassures them too.
2) ASK OTHER TRAINEES
I’d met the trainees in the years above a few times before starting here, thanks to the various socials Bristows organises in the lead up to joining. Needless to say, they were all very welcoming and friendly. What I hadn’t appreciated until I got here was how much everyone helps each-other. Bristows has a trainee mailbox, which only we can access. If you’re super stuck on a task (literally anything from how to book holidays to how to start proceedings in a different country), you can shoot an email to the other trainees, and there’s a very high chance that someone will be able to point you in the right direction. The other trainees are one of your most useful resources – use them.
3) DON’T IGNORE EVENTS
Every few weeks, there’s a firm-wide talk (often with complementary food) on what Bristows has been doing in a particular sector. I initially ignored the invite to the ‘Life Sciences Quarterly Breakfast’, thinking that I wasn’t welcome as I was sitting in Real Estate and not IP. This wasn’t the case; anyone in the firm can go. It turned out to be a great way to meet new people in the firm and find out what different departments had been doing. Even as a trainee, this helps place your work within the bigger Bristows picture. The event doesn’t have to be fully relevant to what you’re working on at that particular time to be useful to go to.
These are just a few of the things I realised in my first weeks here. Luckily, Bristows makes the transition into the firm very smooth, and there are plenty of opportunities to keep finding out more.