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Insight from our trainee, Benjamin Thomson: First Seat – Wealth Management
First Seat – Wealth Management
I started in Wealth Management having never previously experienced private client law so went in with an open-mind about the seat and what it involved. Equity and trusts was one of my favourite modules on my degree, but I only had an amorphous view of what the administration of estates involved.
The steep learning curve is mainly due to realising how different practice is to academia, though the nature of the tasks I have been given have made it easier than I thought it would be to adapt. I have enjoyed the tax and trusts aspects of the seat as I expected I would, with the complexity of these areas meaning I did a lot of research, which was I glad of as my research abilities were one of the reasons I did so well on my degree. However, whilst research tasks are useful for understanding the law – the real importance is learning how to use the research to advise a client and apply it to their situation – an approach which my supervisor has inculcated in me.
I have also learnt the importance of doing things in good time – fighting my instinct to spend more time on something because I feel I can always improve. The key is to ensure that our clients’ objectives are met within the anticipated timescale. Especially as during the seat I’ve been given the responsibility of phoning and writing to clients and thus had to learn to complete the work as promptly as possible.
Drafting Wills and Lasting Powers of Attorneys are two of the other tasks I’ve been given and have also taught me how to tailor these to exactly the client’s demands, but also highlighting where the task clients have asked me to carry out might not actually meet their needs, or where there is a better, simpler way to achieve what they want.
During the seat I have been encouraged to be as pro-active as possible and work on my initiative – it certainly has not just been rote tasks. The team has helped to build up my confidence and ability as much as possible and bringing home the realisation that in just a short time I will qualify as a solicitor.