What it’s really like to be a trainee at Digby Brown

Lauren Frame, Trainee Solicitor

Every day is different as a trainee… - but one thing that doesn’t change is the level of personal responsibility and independence I get to enjoy.

One of the best things about being a trainee at Digby Brown is…

…having my own clients and case holding – something that is unique to being a trainee within Digby Brown.

This allows me to plan my own diary and prioritise my workload. Having the flexibility around my own diary means I can plan my day and tasks accordingly. I am also accountable to my clients which I find keeps me engaged in pushing for results while developing my own professional skills.

In contrast to other firms, we do not have the typical 6-month seat rotation and stay within the one department for our two-year traineeship.

But even though I am only with one department, I get the opportunity to work on a wide range of cases such as:

This is great because every day is different! I have exposure to a very broad range of work allowing me to develop my knowledge of the law in many areas. Each case is also handled and processed differently meaning I must constantly think of the best way to progress each case, what evidence would strengthen the case and contact different agencies.

Opportunity to work independently

With the right support from my supervising Partner, I am trusted to run a case from start to finish while building relationships and rapport with my clients.

The client-facing aspect of my job is both challenging and rewarding. When client’s come to Digby Brown they have been injured in an accident and are often both physically and emotionally impacted by their accident. It can be challenging to work through a personal injury claim with a client when they are going through an extremely difficult time, but it means it is very rewarding when you get them the result they deserve and help improve their quality of life.

I have prepared and litigated my own cases which was extremely exciting. I was supported by my team, and had regular meetings with my supervising partner so I was able to feel confident in what I was doing. I drafted the court documents required and followed the timetable issued by the court.

Through litigation, I was able to settle my first case! The case was a road traffic collision which had to be raised as it was approaching time bar. I learned first-hand how to draft writs and make adjustments to pleadings, something which remains ongoing. Being able to settle a case through litigation within my first 6 months was something I was proud of. 

Helping others with high value and complex cases

As well as running your own caseload, you will have the opportunity to work with other solicitor’s on their cases. This gives you the ability to work on high value and complex claims to broaden your experience and legal knowledge.

I have helped my supervising partner and Counsel with preparation for a Court of Session proof. The proof was over 14 days long and I was lucky to attend the court in-person. The proof was the first in-person proof I attended since the start of my traineeship. It was exciting being face to face with our client and counsel, albeit slightly daunting. Watching the proof gave me a passion for court work and the drive to further develop my skills. In some instances, our civil case may run alongside criminal proceedings - and here I would also go down to the criminal courts as a watching brief.

It is useful as:

  • Evidence may come out in court that is beneficial to your case
  • It allows you to gain insight into criminal litigation.

Taking witness statements

You will also help other solicitors in their cases by taking witness statements.

As a trainee, I find that this is one of my most common tasks and it is really useful for building a picture of the accident circumstances.

I will also take statements from Police Officers who have had involvement with our client’s accident.

There is also the opportunity to go on home or site visits, it is always great fun to do something different! This is typically where the case circumstances are complex, or the client is unable to come into the office.

The social side…

There is a big emphasis on socials within the firm.

Regularly, departments will have small social events giving everyone the chance to catch up outside of the office.

The firm also hold events throughout the year to get all seven offices together in a social setting. These events are especially beneficial as a trainee because you meet new people in the firm across various departments.

Overall, the best part about being a trainee at Digby Brown though is the level of independence I have in my own cases.

You are given regular meetings to ensure that you are doing well. The support is available whenever you need it.

Learn more about the 2024 Graduate Law Traineeship - applications close on 5th August 2022.