A Day in the life

Come follow us through a day of Shaaf Alam's life - a Trainee Solicitor at DAC Beachcroft

Shaaf Alam, 2nd Year Trainee Solicitor (Seat 3: Employment, Pensions and Immigration), Bristol.

Day in the life of a Trainee Solicitor


I wake up 10 minutes before my alarm is due to ring. Little does my alarm know, but my body clock is so accustomed to waking up at 7am that I have actually been awake since 6.50am. They say that its bad for you but I spend the first few minutes of my day on my phone. I (skim) read the news, browse Instagram and Twitter before getting out of bed.


The apartment block I live in has its own little gym so I go and make the most of this for the next 30 minutes or so. I think about the important day that lies ahead. I am due to attend the final day of a Hearing in the Employment Tribunal. I feel excited and a little nervous. This was a 4 day in-person Hearing and today the judgment will be given. During the course of my training contract, I have attended a handful of Hearings but none of them in-person and none quite as interesting as this one. We are acting for the respondent (our client - an employer) in a race discrimination claim. I finish up at the gym and head back to my apartment to get ready.


I have showered, thrown on a suit (a nice change from the usual smart casual office wear) and made sure I have everything I need for the day. I live only a 10 minute walk (or 3 minute e-scooter if I am feeling lazy) from the office. Airpods in, FT news briefing on (perfect 10 minute dissect of the key financial / business news of the day) and I begin my short walk to the office.


As I head in, I greet a few of my colleagues who are scattered around where our team sits. Not only is it still early in the day, but on Thursdays, most my team work from home. My last seat was in the Corporate team and they had Wednesdays and Fridays as WFH days. Since joining, I have found that every team has its own working style so you have to be adaptable, especially when you move into a new team.


We are not due at the Employment Tribunal until 2pm so I have time to get some work done. My first task of the day is a research task. A client wants to know whether an email chain of correspondence between employees of the client will need to be disclosed as part of a data subject access request raised by a Claimant. I find doing research very valuable, I tend to learn a lot. However, it can be equally frustrating when you are struggling to find the answer. Luckily, this was a relatively straightforward bit of research where I found that the email chain would not be disclosable as it would be subject to litigation privilege.


I have a meeting with a Partner regarding a new instruction we have received from one of our clients. A senior employee of our client is facing some pretty serious allegations and we have been instructed to assist in the client's internal investigation. The task that I have been given is to read the various witness statements and draft a table of all of the allegations against the senior employee. Attention to detail here is vital. The table is to be sent to the investigating officer so it is important that I do not miss anything. I read the various witness statements and draft a neat table to send to the Partner. This takes up my next couple of hours.


I get my weekly 'MNF' invite email. 'MNF' (abbreviation for Monday Night Football) is something we have in the Bristol office where every Monday night we have a 6/7-a-side football match. Even some Partners come along and it tends to get quite competitive (at least for me). It is also a great leveller playing football with Partners and other senior colleagues. I respond with a 'Yes' to the email and head down to our canteen for lunch where I have some veggie lasagne.


I ensure that I have everything I need and make the 5 minute walk from the office to the Employment Tribunal. I meet with the solicitor in my team who has been working on the case and our counsel. We are confident of victory, however, together we discuss options for remedy in case the decision does not go our way. One thing I have noticed since starting my training contract is how well prepared you must be for each and every outcome. This sometimes requires thinking outside the box. For this reason (among others), I think having a creative element to your personality can really help in this field.


We enter the courtroom. The claimant is a litigant in person so the judge starts off by summarising every aspect of the claim before giving his judgment. I suspect that he does this to reassure the claimant that he has considered everything before making his decision.

The judge gives his judgment and as expected, the claim fails on every point. Despite becoming involved in this case quite late on, I feel a sense of relief and achievement.


We exit the Employment Tribunal and head back to the office.


I tidy up my attendance note from the Hearing and together, the solicitor leading the case and I make a call to the client to inform them that we have won the case. The client is delighted and understandably so. There is a lot of reputational damage that comes with a successful race discrimination claim and the client is glad to hear that the judge found that the allegations were unfounded.


Airpods in, new Drake album on, I jump on an e-scooter and head home.

Read more on about our other graduate trainees

Learn about the day in the life of Isaac Jong, a Trainee Solicitor on Secondment.

Read here

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