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A day in the life of – Sophia Bompas

Day in the life of

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

It is clear from my time at Edwin Coe so far, that the focus of the firm is to provide a first-class service to clients. In achieving this, the firm has established a strong culture of professionalism, mutual respect amongst colleagues and plenty of opportunity for social interaction. For me as a trainee, working in this environment provides a balanced and well-rounded learning experience.

My first seat in Property has involved working on residential and commercial transactions, from initial client meetings through to post-completion matters. As well as working with partners and associates, I have also managed files independently, requiring me to deal directly with clients and other external parties. This early responsibility and direct involvement on transactions is, for me, what sets life as a trainee at Edwin Coe apart from other firms.

The high expectation of trainees at Edwin Coe is balanced by the support and training provided. Partners and other senior professionals are approachable and willing to offer advice. My Property supervisor has been highly supportive and always on hand to answer questions, whether law-related or more generally about the firm’s policies and procedures. Sharing an office with a partner has exposed me to high-level transactions and has markedly improved my ability to deal with client matters.

People often believe that life as a lawyer is synonymous with all-night working and weekends spent in the office. From my experience at Edwin Coe, hours vary depending on the transaction. Hard work and long hours are necessary to achieve the high standards expected by clients, but once work has been completed and deadlines met, there is no obligation to put in face time. The emphasis on work-life balance at the firm contributes to the congenial working environment and makes the busy periods more of an exciting challenge than a laborious obligation.

Socialising with colleagues is strongly promoted at the firm, as evidenced by numerous events, parties and sporting occasions. I am impressed that future trainees are invited to social events and are encouraged to get involved from an early stage. This certainly took the edge off my first day at work! I have also had the opportunity to attend various client events, which has been invaluable in developing working relationships and showing how my work benefits clients.

A day in the life of an Edwin Coe trainee starts with reading emails and planning a work schedule for that day. My experience in Property has taught me to treat the daily schedule with some degree of flexibility, as there is often new work coming in which may need to be prioritised. I complete ad hoc work first, provided there is nothing urgent due for completion beforehand. New work requires reading up on the matter and researching any unusual features. I take lunch with other trainees if I can. Sometimes I play netball for the firm at lunchtime, which is always a welcome break from the computer. Back at work, if a client meeting is necessary, I will organise this; if not, I may email or call the client to gather information as needed. I will draft any documents required and discuss them with the partner. The draft documents are sent externally for negotiation or approval. I make a note of all work I undertake, both to plan what needs to be done next and for my training log. In the evening after work, I like to keep busy, whether that be an evening netball match with colleagues, drinks with fellow trainees or maybe a firm quiz!