Now sufficiently experienced both at Streeter Marshall and in family law generally, I am essentially operating at the level of a solicitor, albeit I still have to take care of all my own administrative duties including electronic and paper filing. I’m not yet senior enough to have my own paralegal or secretary! I work closely with my supervisor, head of department Inderjit Dosanjh, on a number of family law cases and also manage some cases myself.
Running and/or assisting in cases includes regular email correspondence, telephone conversations and meetings with clients, other solicitors, barristers and experts such as valuation experts. It also includes drafting a wide range of court documents, preparing for hearings and attending hearings. Although largely competent to oversee small-to-medium matters on my own, if I ever have queries, whether in respect of legal principles, legal procedure or case management, Inderjit is always on hand to offer the necessary guidance. That’s the great balance you get as a trainee here; you get the autonomy and responsibility to run cases to the fullest extent possible but you also have excellent supervisory support as and when it’s needed, so you can take cases on with confidence.
Doing client casework takes up most of the day, and I can hope to be performing 3-3.5 hours of this per day during busy periods, and exceptionally it can be as much as 4-5 hours. However, I must always stay on top of my own administrative burden as well. All of my own emails and other documents need to be properly filed electronically and in the paper files, and during busy periods this alone can take at least an hour per day.
I also make an effort to stay in touch with all of the other trainees and paralegals at the firm and we arrange our own social events from time-to-time. This is a great opportunity to discuss our own experiences at the firm’s different departments and to have a network of friends at the same stage of their careers as myself.