There are days where everything runs smoothly and gets done on time and then more often than not there are days, like today, where you are happily beavering away in the office well past your 5pm finish. If you are the kind of person who watches the clock and punches out exactly at 5pm then being a trainee solicitor, in fact being a solicitor, may not be the job for you. The problem is in life not everything happens within the nice confines of your working day. Things happen at 8pm, things happen at 4am and more often than not things happen at 4:50pm, just as you wish you were beginning to close down for the day. But as I was once told, this is what makes the job interesting; it keeps you on your toes.
Today, I came to work at Stowe Family Law LLP with a plan. I had three jobs for the morning and then one major job for the afternoon with the hope that I would finish around 5pm, as tonight was my first night at Taekwondo in Harrogate. The morning ran without a hiccup, and the afternoon was strolling along happily until, at around 4pm, a massive file dropped from the sky and tripped the afternoon up. A Brief to Counsel needed amending. It was not the actual document, the Brief, that posed the issue it was the further documents that needed including. Let me try to paint you a picture: so you have the Brief, a document that generally sets out the background of the case; the position of each party according to their Form E’s (which I hope you remember from yesterday’s blog!); if the solicitor believes it to be a needs based case then the s.25 factors of the Matrimonial Causes Act 1973 may be set out (this is, once again, a subject for another blog); each parties wishes in regard to their assets and then any further information Counsel may require followed by your questions to Counsel. Then you have all the documentation that Counsel may need to fully understand the case, this may be every document from each parties Form E’s; it may be a selection of these documents; it may be the correspondence between the solicitors on the case; it may be housing particulars; or all of the above and more. The documents included are obviously case dependent so can vary from 10 pages to 100 pages or more. It is the finding, photocopying, organising and indexing of these documents that takes time. Usually Briefs to Counsel are not paginated but they can be. Pagination is something, luckily for me, our printers at Stowe Family Law LLP do at the touch of a couple of buttons. Basically, the printer numbers the pages. Sounds simple, and it is as long as the printer doesn’t get hungry as printers do and try to eat your paper at any point.
With the Brief finished, eventually organised and fully indexed, it is 5:55pm and time to finish for the evening. I have exactly 5minutes to make it from the office, home and back out to Taekwondo. I think it’s time I start running.