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A Day in the Life of a Trainee Solicitor at JCP

View profile for Emily Wellington
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Emily Wellington joined JCP Solicitors in August 2022 as a Legal Assistant in our Agricultural and Property Litigation team based in Cardiff. After a year of working within the team, Emily began her training contract and is now in her second seat.

Emily acts for a varied client base but predominantly our agricultural clients, advising on a number of different issues including tenancies, succession planning, common land, public and private rights of way easements, covenants, boundary disputes and adverse possession claims.

Emily really enjoys the varied work that she does at JCP and is looking forward to developing her career within the firm.

Here, Emily details a typical day in her life as one of our Trainee Solicitors.

What time does your day start?

A typical day starts at around 8:50. I arrive at the office, catch up with colleagues and log on to my computer to check any emails that have come in from the previous evening. I check to see whether any emails are urgent, requiring immediate attention, and deal with these first. I then check my calendar to see what meetings and appointments I have, before, of course, making the first coffee of the day! Coffee in tow, I review and update a daily to do list so that I can plan my day effectively. I usually touch base with my supervisors to let them know my plans and to see if there is anything further that needs to be prioritised.

What typical tasks are you expected to carry out?

Whilst the majority of the work we carry out is not litigated at court, for any court matters that do arise, being organised and prioritising key deadlines is a key aspect of a trainee’s role. Checking the diary and updating this daily is a responsibility that falls heavily on trainees to make sure that all court deadlines are complied with.

Drafting pleadings (formal court documents that set out the party’s case) and letters to the other side, is how I spend the majority of my day. I also undertake the legal research required to assist with the process.

Liaising with barristers and their clerks is something that is usually the responsibility of a trainee, to make sure that all members of the legal team, including counsel, are up to date with the current position.

Managing all the case documents and producing bundles for court and mediation is another important aspect of the role. I also take detailed notes at all meetings and court hearings that I attend.

You mention attending court hearings, do trainees encounter hands-on court experience?

I have been very lucky during my time at JCP to attend court fairly regularly. From speaking with other trainees at the firm, most have also had the opportunity to attend court which is brilliant experience.

Whilst at JCP, I have attended two civil trials, directions hearings, appeal hearings, costs hearings and not to mention several mediations, which have no doubt been invaluable in building my understanding and knowledge of the civil litigation process.

How would you describe the culture at JCP?

JCP’s culture is one of the reasons that I originally joined the firm, and having experienced it firsthand, I can confirm it is a great place to work.

Although it is a regional business with 8 offices and 180 employees, every client and colleague is made to feel important. Working your core hours of 9-5 is encouraged where possible, and the focus on work-life balance is greatly appreciated. You also get to deal with an excellent quality of work that is usually associated with larger national firms.

Many of my colleagues have trained at JCP and progressed all the way to a Director role, which is very inspiring to those of us starting out in our careers. Colleagues support and respect one another, which makes a happy and positive working environment.

As a trainee, I am supervised well to ensure that I continue to learn, but I am also given autonomy to develop my own litigation style. 

Do you have opportunities to network as a trainee?

I have had more opportunities to network at JCP, than ever before. I usually attend two or three events a month, mainly with junior lawyers or other young professionals in the Cardiff area, but more recently have been attending larger events with more senior colleagues.

Being based in the agricultural team also means I attend agricultural shows and conferences with the NFU. I enjoy networking and it is a skill which I am pleased to have started developing early on in my career. Events are also a great way to get to know your colleagues in a more informal setting.

Do you have any tips for future trainees?  

  1. Find a solution before asking a question – you will get much more out of trying to find a solution yourself, rather than asking a supervisor for the answer. If it’s wrong, they will ask you to try again and help you to get there yourself!
  2. Always have these two items to hand:
    A notepad and pen: A supervisor may ask you to do something with detailed instructions. If you are prepared and can take a note (no matter how scruffy it may be!) this will really help you when drafting the task.
    A smart jacket: You never know when you may be asked to attend a last-minute meeting or event. It would be a shame to miss out on an opportunity due to your attire.
  3. Take all the opportunities you are given. You never know what you will learn from doing something that you weren’t sure about, it could really help in the future.

JCP’s Trainee Solicitor applications are currently open until 19 May 2024. Find out more about our Trainee Solicitor opportunities here or if you have any further questions please email our recruitment team on