As part of our ‘Trainee Talks’ series, Kurtis Symons-Peck discusses the importance of feeling supported in your workplace; don’t forget to look beyond the work!

Picture this: it’s the end of the month, and I realise it’s time I write my first trainee article for Thompson Smith and Puxon. I find myself staring at the computer screen. The pressure to write something meaningful is growing. In that moment of uncertainty, I turn to my colleagues, and it suddenly dawns on me – why not write about the people who share this journey with me? My search for inspiration becomes the inspiration.  

It’s easy to get caught up in the legal duties of being a trainee solicitor. Firms, and by extension solicitors, are measured by their performance. However, it is important not to view this in isolation, especially when deciding where to apply for a Training contract. You should always step back and appreciate the workplace, team, culture, environment and broader experience. The two years, or perhaps more, spent during the training contract will go much smoother if you enjoy the experience and the people behind it.  

Our trainee group has a blend of experiences; I joined straight from university, but others have already completed the Legal Practice Course, worked as paralegals, or previously gone down entirely different career paths. Despite our small number, our very different experiences enable us to tackle challenges from various angles and understand the unique circumstances each of us faces.   Everyone understands the challenges and pressures of juggling coursework, exams, and demanding workloads, which means that the group has become a source of unwavering support and motivation to stay focused and succeed. Learning from one another allows us to gain insights we might not have otherwise considered, and there is a culture of collaboration, whether refining legal documents or presentations. Having those colleagues to provide constructive criticism and suggestions for improvement is invaluable and has fostered a sense of team spirit and shared achievement.  

My time with the Residential Property Team is almost ending and I have never felt more supported and welcomed. The Clacton office has been an incredible place to work and the time has flown by. Yet, as a trainee, just as you fall into the flow of your current team, it is time to move on. If I were doing it alone, I’m certain that each move would be filled with stress and worry. However, our small trainee group has become a wellspring of advice and guidance. We’re all willing to share our experiences and offer tips for overcoming challenges, managing caseloads, building client relationships, and balancing competing priorities. Nicola Rout has helped create a supportive group that celebrates knowledge sharing and encourages each of us to take on new challenges to grow personally and professionally. With the Trainees at TSP set to grow even further in the coming months, I have no doubt this ideal will only grow with it.

Perhaps most importantly, our trainee group reminds us all that we’re not alone. In a profession that can often feel isolating, knowing that three others are experiencing the same emotions and facing the same hurdles is reassuring. We have regular check-ins, where we share our triumphs and challenges, providing a space for open and honest discussions.  

The point of all this? When searching for a training contract, or even for a future job, don’t forget to look beyond the work. People who enjoy where they work produce better quality work, which goes for trainees too! In a career that can often create this idea that it’s you against the world, sometimes it’s essential to stop and realise that this doesn’t have to be the case.