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Insights into the Trainee Experience in the Family Law Department

June 15, 2023 By Family Law Department Family Law

What Cases Will I Be Working On?

When you join the Family Law Department as a Trainee Solicitor, you won’t be expected to run sixty cases on day one. The team appreciate that you may not have studied Family Law since the Diploma and that refreshing basic knowledge of this area of Law is necessary. In the initial weeks, you can expect to be working on a number of cases from financial provision of a separation, to adoption and guardianships. You will be assigned a supervisor who will involve you in their cases. This will provide you with a valuable opportunity as you will likely be sitting in on consultations with Advocates and court hearings very soon into your seat.

Soon enough you will be running cases yourself with assistance of the team. At the beginning, the cases you run yourself will be non-contentious separation cases. For example, simplified or ordinary divorces where the consent of the spouse is not required. As you move through your seat, you will begin to take on slightly more complex cases such as financial provision or contentious child contact cases. Even when you have your own caseload, you will be given the opportunity to sit in on unique meetings or court hearings, allowing you to gain as much experience as you can during your seat.

What Can You Expect from Clients?

As we do not offer Legal Aid in this department (exclusive of Guardianships), clients are required to pay for our services. Consequently, I have found that clients in this area, generally speaking, request updates more often than they do in other areas. In addition to this, ending a marriage or seeking contact of your child whom you haven’t seen in weeks or months is of course an emotional time for clients. Therefore, it is important to note that it is only natural that clients can become upset or frustrated during the course of their case and that an empathetic approach is required.  

Will I Have to Appear In Court?

Any litigation seat will offer court experience, whether this is online via WebEx or in person in front of a Sheriff. If you have not appeared before, the team will ease you in to the experience with procedural appearances online for the first few. All Child Welfare Hearings are back in person so you will be expected to appear before a Sheriff if you have one. Appearing in court is daunting for any Trainee (or Solicitor!), but the team is always there to support you.

We appreciate your interest in pursuing a Trainee position within our Family Law Department. We encourage you to regularly visit our careers page for any updates and announcements regarding available opportunities.

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