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A day in the life of a trainee solicitor

Hi, I’m Shaun White, a trainee solicitor at Cook & Co. I started in our Corporate and Commercial department in January 2016, and this is a narrative describing a ‘typical’ day for me.


Supervisor: “Money never sleeps, pal.”

Supervisor: Have you drafted that shareholders’ agreement? What is the status of the share sale?


Me: First draft ready for review. Asset sale set to complete next week.


Waiting for the espresso machine to produce a warm brew, I check my calendar on my work phone to see what’s on tap for the day. Two client meetings, two transactions ongoing, preparation for an upcoming speech in London, and a business networking event in the evening, a moderately busy day upcoming.


A few select members of our firm are taking part in ‘Travel to Work,’ an important research study led by the University of Bristol. Each of us agreed to measure our physical activity during the journey to work. For this we are using a pedometer that is attached to our waist. I trek over the Prince Street Bridge and up Park Street headed to our Clifton-based office.


I arrive at my desk shortly having grabbed my second brew of the day, and start browsing ft.com. I scan the major sections, seeking out any relevant bits that may be applicable to our clients.


Over the last couple of months we have been working on a proposed acquisition of a construction company. Completion is looming. I am drafting the board minutes, stock transfer forms, and share certificate indemnities. These documents are the latter part of the transaction since the lengthy share purchase agreement has been agreed. At our firm, trainees are treated as future associates and therefore I’m able to do some substantial work.


My supervisor has asked me to join him at a client meeting in 15 minutes. Our client is a telecommunications company with offices in the UK, and seeking to alter the company’s terms and conditions. I’m familiar with the client company; however, I take the 15 minutes to review the existing ones. We discuss potential alterations and how it will affect the rights and liabilities of the company in the future.


Immediately thereafter, I tag alongside my supervisor for the second half of a back-to-back meeting. This meeting is with a long term client and majority shareholder of a financial services company who is selling their shares. Since the transaction is in its preliminary stages, we advise on the legal aspects but also the commercial realities behind the deal structure and the implications of a share sale. At this point we talk briefly about a confidentiality agreement as well as a lock-out agreement which was put forth by the buyer. I take detailed notes as I am most likely to draft the engagement letter which outlines our proposed and itemised schedule of legal work.


It’s lunch time, and since it’s been a long morning, my supervisor offers to treat me to a lunch at the Cowshed, a local restaurant in the heart of Clifton. Working in Clifton has its perks because not only is it a centre for small businesses, but it’s close to many fantastic food places and cafes. I order a sirloin steak, cooked blue, with peppercorn sauce. Both my supervisor and I fill our bellies whilst checking our brand new company iPhones intermittently.


Get an email from a corporate colleague who has just come out of a meeting. We received a draft share purchase agreement in relation to the sale of a technology company which contains significant amendments. I’ve worked extensively on this deal and I’ve built a good relationship with the client, so I’m fairly informal in my update, but realise it’s imperative to strike the right balance. We schedule in a conference call for tomorrow morning to review the proposed changes.


I continue working on the ancillary documents for the construction company transaction. For our client, the end is near as it was a lengthy negotiation process due to the extensive warranties and disclosure letter.


On a normal day I’d leave at around 6:00pm. But tonight’s inaugural Bristol Young Guns, an informal networking event, is starting shortly, so I have to set up downstairs with our Private Client associate. I’ve met many of our guests at previous events or dealt with them as clients. Lee Mears, a former England rugby player, is speaking about leadership and business. Wiper and True have graciously supplied various ales. We chat to young entrepreneurs, investors, and other guests whilst we help ourselves to a huge spread of food provided by Bakesmiths, a local coffee shop. It is intriguing to hear more background information about our guests, particularly the business owners and how they’re looking to expand and grow.


The event is a complete success and all wrapped up. Plans for the next event are already underway.


Back at my desk to tidy before heading home to my flat on the Harbourside, my supervisor has left me his comments on the shareholders’ agreement that I produced the day before. There aren’t as many red ink mark-ups as with the month’s previous… this is positive. He left a note.

Supervisor: “You’ve done good, but you gotta keep doing good. I’ve showed you how the game works. Now School’s out.”


Back at the flat, I catch up on some North American sport for a short while, treat myself to a few snacks and then prepare for bed. I remove the pedometer which was put to the test today. I collect another Wall Street quote for use the next morning…

6:15AM – Following Day

Me: How many yachts can you waterski behind?

If you have any questions about the life of a trainee solicitor, please contact Shaun at shaun.white@cookco.co.uk who’d be happy to answer any questions.

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