A Day in the Life of an Employment Trainee

8:30am: I sign into my computer, make a coffee and have some breakfast whilst checking my emails. I try to log on before the working day officially begins to give myself time to review my task list, decide what I need to prioritise, and work out whether I have any meetings or catch-up calls I should prepare for. Now that we are remote working, it’s much easier to set aside some time in the morning to get a head start on the day.

9:00am: I start looking through the Employment newsletters that have landed in my inbox this morning. With the furlough scheme coming to an end and the implementation of the new Government Job Support Scheme, there’s a great deal of change underway in the Employment sphere at the moment, so it’s important to keep up to date with the position to ensure that we are ready to advise clients when asked.

9:30am: I’ve just received an email from a colleague asking me to call the Employment Tribunal to check on the status of an Unless Order we filed a week ago. I know I need to do this as a priority as the Order is relevant to a hearing in two weeks’ time. Before I make the call, I have a brief look at the previous correspondence on the system and familiarise myself with the current position. After I’ve got through to the Tribunal, I write an attendance note, pick up the phone and update my colleague. We get chatting about our upcoming work this week and she tells me about some of the matters she is working on.

10:00am: For World Mental Health Day each year, Osborne Clarke runs a series of events with internal and external speakers. This year is no different other than the fact that it’s all remote, and I’ve signed up to attend a panel talk on intersectional mental health. The firm is extremely passionate about, and committed to, equality, diversity and inclusion, and well-being, and encourages us all to make time to attend these events, discuss these topics and continue educating ourselves.

11:00am: One of our large international clients has requested advice on their obligation to carry out Right to Work checks across each of the EU and EEA countries in which they operate. I have been working on this with another junior colleague in my team for the last few days, so I continue, and am able to complete, my research in respect of the jurisdictions allocated to me. After I’ve finished proof-reading, I check whether there is anything else I can assist with on the task.

12:30pm: I step away from my desk for a few minutes to stretch my legs. I take the opportunity to catch up with some “life admin” and quickly prepare some lunch before the afternoon’s activities begin.

1:00pm: Over lunch, we have a cross-office Employment Knowledge session. This is led primarily by the firm’s Employment Knowledge lawyers and is a really useful opportunity for us to learn and ask questions about important Employment law updates or changes to internal firm processes. Today, the session is about furlough fraud, TUPE developments and the firm’s new approach to Data Subject Access Requests.

2:pm: My supervisor emails me asking for some assistance on amending a settlement agreement for one of our tech clients. The client wants to amend their standard settlement agreement template to reflect requirements under Scottish law, as they have an office and employees in Scotland. I review the template and highlight some sections that I know will need to be changed and then carry out some research. My supervisor has advised me to contact an associate in the London office as she worked on a Scottish settlement agreement for a different client, so I send her an instant message and we have a conversation about it. I am always struck by how willing everyone is to help each other out at Osborne Clarke, and I now feel more confident about completing the task, making the necessary changes discussed.

4:15pm: One of our clients has emailed asking for copies of the forms they are required to complete in order to obtain their employees’ medical records as part of an ongoing contentious matter. I carry out some research on the topic (which also requires knowledge of data protection law) and read around the subject to gain an understanding of the client’s and employees’ respective rights, compile a package of the necessary paperwork, and write a short email explaining the purpose of each. Before sending this out, I email it across to my supervisor for review.

5:00pm: I am involved in an ongoing Business Development Project to assist our clients with adapting to the new remote working regime. One of my tasks is to help collate some research for an article aimed at senior executives about the skills required to manage a remote team. I start looking online and find lots of useful commentary on the subject.

5:30pm: I review my diary for tomorrow and note that we have a Thames Valley Office Charity Committee meeting at lunch. We are collecting ideas for charity fundraising initiatives that we are able to arrange and carry out remotely, so ahead of the meeting, I draft an email to send on behalf of the Committee, ready to discuss with my fellow trainees tomorrow.

5:45pm: I finalise my time recording and update my work log for today. I make a note of any outstanding tasks that I need to prioritise tomorrow and send out a couple of last minute emails.

6:00pm: This evening, the trainees from my office are getting together for some virtual drinks. As we’re all working from home, and will be for the foreseeable future, we try to set some time aside each week to catch up. Osborne Clarke encourages us to have a work/life balance, so if there’s no urgent work to be done of an evening, our supervisors are really supportive of us logging off on time.

Written by Isobel Boyce, Trainee Associate at Osborne clarke.

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