A day in the life of a trainee in the Civil Litigation and Dispute Resolution department

I arrive in the office between 9.00 and 9.30, make myself a cup of tea and check my emails.  I am working on large debt collection matters against a well know franchise and I am communicating with 150 franchisees.  I go through each email and make a list of all the issues and queries where I need to take instructions from the client.  For more problematic matters, I pop my head into my trainer’s office to ask for his opinion.  We have an open door policy and providing he is not on the phone or in the middle of drafting, my trainer is always willing to listen.  His first question is what my thoughts are and what practical solutions I have identified for dealing with the problem.  We discuss the options and agree the way forward.  This attitude is common throughout the firm; everyone always makes time to guide to you to the right answer and ensure you understand the reasoning behind why a certain route should be followed.

Having responded to the emails that have come in on the debt collection matter, I will throughout the day periodically return to responding to the emails on this matter.   I have a look at my to-do list, which I wrote before I left the office yesterday.  Before I start on a letter I have been asked to draft, I telephone the Companies Court to chase for an Order which I was expecting to have arrived in the post.  I am told the Order is still with the Judge, so I make a note to visit the Companies Court Registry when I am next at the Royal Courts of Justice, which incidentally is tomorrow.

I read and mark up a newspaper article I have been given, and identify the defamatory statements in the article against my client.  Then, having located the appropriate precedent I make a start on drafting a letter before action for a defamation claim, in accordance with the pre Action protocol of the CPR, to a Sunday newspaper.

I receive a telephone call to inform me that a Media article I wrote a few weeks ago for our briefing has been content approved, and I need to do a final proof read to make sure there are not any typos or spelling mistakes as it is going to the printers tomorrow afternoon.

A reminder pops up informing me the deadline for issuing a Claim Form is approaching.  I speak to the associate in the department who has conduct of the case and he tells me he is waiting on the client to provide some documents.  If these arrive tomorrow before I attend the Royal Courts of Justice I can issue the Claim Form tomorrow.  If not, I will need to attend Court later in the week to issue the Claim Form before we are out of time.  He asks me to email the client as a gentle reminder to send the documents promptly.  I send the email and then pop out to get some lunch as I have a conference call starting at 13:15.

Since I joined the department I have been actively involved in the negotiations between our clients and their record company.  On today’s call there are eight people including our clients and their US representatives.  Taking a detailed note of what is said on the conference call is tricky because everyone always seems to talk so fast and with so many people on the call it is sometimes difficult to establish who is speaking!  Luckily the American accent assists me in narrowing down some of the voices. Today we are discussing in detail the terms of the contract which relate to marketing obligations on our clients, royalties and confidentiality. I feel involved in the case as I have attended all the face to face meetings, conference calls, and been copied in on all the relevant emails, enabling me to review the documentation. 

I type up an attendance note, detailing the discussions on the call.  I then take fifteen minutes to proof read my article, make my amendments and email it back so it can be sent to the printers.

My trainer calls me in to discuss the changes he has made to the letter I drafted earlier in the day.  He talks me through the letter and points out where he thinks I have written effectively and highlights to me where I have missed points in the article that are defamatory and can be added to the letter.

I am going before a Master in the Chancery division tomorrow, so I begin to prepare my oral submissions.  I will be asking for an Interim Third Party Debt Order to be made final.  The associate in the department has given me the file and the papers I will need.  I enjoy advocacy and while I am slightly apprehensive as this is only my second time before a Master, I know that this is a good opportunity for me to practice drafting submissions and present these.

A partner in the Immigration department emails me and asks me to check a point in the Civil Procedure Rules (CPR) regarding service of a Judicial Review Claim Form.  She does not want a formal memo, but asks me to drop her an email clarifying the position.  I finish drafting my submissions and make a start on the research I have been asked to do.  I locate the relevant CRP quite quickly and send a detailed email with respect to the various forms of service which are acceptable by the Court, and when service will be deemed to be affected.  The variety of work and not knowing what is going to land on your desk is what I particularly enjoy about training at Magrath.  On a daily basis I work with a variety of colleagues all at different stages in their careers.  The collegiate environment at the firm means I am constantly asking questions and learning.

I decide to read through the submissions I will be making to the Master tomorrow and run through the documents again.

I update my trainer on the progress of the debt recovery matter, and discuss with him any matters that are outstanding and need to be clarified.  We discuss tactics and how best to approach more problematic debtors.  He asks me to provide him with an updated schedule of costs by the end of the week.  I add this to my to-do list.

Before I leave the office I send an email to the department and copy in the Employment department to inform everyone that I will be attending the Royal Courts of Justice tomorrow afternoon, so I can file documents with the Court, or pick up documents from the Court during my visit.  An associate in the Employment department asks me to visit her mid-morning tomorrow when she expects her documents will be ready.  I set a reminder in my calendar to do so.  I run through my to-do list and prioritise the tasks that need to be completed tomorrow morning.