Jess Brittain

Jess Brittain

Qualifying into the “new normal” – Trainee Solicitor 2018-2020

I was entering the final seat of my training contract at Edwin Coe when, what we now refer to as, Lockdown 1.0 was announced. With courts and tribunals across the country closed overnight, the contentious practice at Edwin Coe saw some of the most immediate changes with virtual or hybrid hearings and mandatory electronic bundles. This was a sharp learning curve for even the most experienced practitioners and it was an exciting time to be with the Group Action Litigation team.

The non-contentious practice was also required to move online. As a trainee, I was accustomed to regularly attending client meetings in our beautiful Lincoln’s Inn offices, but these now had to be handled over Zoom. I was initially worried that Edwin Coe’s approach to training, in that you sit in an office with a Partner or Senior Associate to learn from them by ‘osmosis’, would be lost. But I was pleased that Edwin Coe’s general open door attitude continued when we began working from home. I always felt able to contact my supervising partner or any fee earner with questions or if I needed support. We also had regular team video calls to catch up on work (and social).

Trainees at Edwin Coe are encouraged to meet people from across the firm by attending social and charity events and joining the firm’s sports teams. I was glad that not even a global pandemic stopped Edwin Coe’s inaugural quiz from taking place or from participating in the (virtual) London Legal Walk.

At Edwin Coe you will be part of a smaller trainee intake than other firms. This means that you can get to know your fellow trainees much better and rely on each other for support. I was nervous to be qualifying in 2020 with the uncertainty caused by the pandemic. However, I was delighted to be offered a qualification position with Edwin Coe’s Private Client team and looking back I believe the challenges we faced in the final seat of our training contracts have made us more adaptable and confident NQ solicitors.