How the world has changed in 30 days

Even though we knew it was coming, the shock of the last 30 days has had a considerable impact on us personally and professionally. I am sick of reading about coronavirus in the papers; but the very fact that I am doing it in the complete safety of my own home without any need to go outside and face ‘the invisible terror’ as Trump would put it, means that I cannot fully understand how the people on the frontline cope with the stress and fear it must inevitably bring on.

I have never quoted Donald Trump before and I am not likely to again, but these are extraordinary times that we are living in and it is worth taking a moment to appreciate how lucky many of us are that can work remotely in the safety of our own homes. Being the son of the manager of an elderly care home, I understand that my Mum is wired differently than me and that her drive comes from helping others even to the detriment of her own health and personal safety. I am humbled by the selfless job the NHS, care home and other frontline staff are doing.

I am also very thankful that so many of our clients have risen to the challenge and made it possible for our trainees to continue to work remotely without any interruption to their training contracts. So, thank you… 

Changes to the business and legal world

Even if we are all keen to forget the coronavirus pandemic and return to normal, I suspect the world will not and perhaps should not be so keen to wind the clock back but actually focus on what good can come out of this once the mourning is complete.

At Accutrainee we are analysing every challenge to see how we can adapt and improve on what we do, how we do it and how we deliver, seeking ways that we may, through these enforced changes actually deliver a better service to our clients. Some of the questions we have been discussing which I think will be relevant to our clients include:

Will fixed fees arrangements increase as a preference to hourly based billing?

I am sure the initial reaction to that question might be something along the lines of, what does that have to do with a pandemic. Let me explain…

As far back as 2000, the legal press was talking about an hour of reckoning on hourly based billing. Read more

Since 2000 there has been a considerable increase in the size of in-house legal teams, a legal technology revolution and a huge number of alternative legal providers entering the space; this considerable pressure has resulted in some changes, but hourly based billing is still the norm for many law firms. 

Over the last few weeks, many firms have shifted their approach to objective based working as the most effective way of tracking their team’s progress while working remotely. They simply do not have as much insight into when, where and how their teams are doing the work. Objective based working provides an opportunity for teams to focus on the result with strict deadlines enforced as a way of ensuring delivery. This could have a profound impact for law firms and law departments, especially if it proves successful. The benefits are clear for all concerned, Law departments can manage their costs more effectively, law firms will provide more accurate estimates and lawyers can finally move further away from hourly billing that is so often maligned within the industry. 

Is it possible to complete a training contract remotely?

Over the last four weeks I have been reaching out to many of our Trainees to talk about their experiences while working remotely and how it is potentially impacting them personally and professionally. In fact, I did a post on LinkedIn recently which covered exactly this subject: An insight in to our challenges and positive outcomes during the pandemic for Trainees.

It is crucial to us as a business to understand how we can support our Trainees during this time and fully understand their concerns. The overriding fear being whether they can continue in some semblance of normal professional working practices in such a formative part of their career, the training phase. 

I am really encouraged by the feedback received so far and especially with the firms that have taken on Trainees and onboarded them remotely. It is clear our mentors and client supervisors are making every effort to support our Trainees to give them a sense of normality during this period and that it may even be possible not only to complete distance learning temporarily but to even consider a remote training contract in the future. To date, we have successfully onboarded trainees entirely virtually which I think is pretty amazing, evidencing a more connected, technology enabled legal profession which can’t be a bad thing.

Please take a look at some of our Trainees and Flex Lawyers in our spotlight segment and look out for our new video on social media related to training and working during the pandemic. 

Accutrainee Spotlight

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Candidate A
Looking for his final seat. He has a French Baccalaureate, BA in Economics, BA in French Law and master’s in international Economic Law and achieved a commendation in both his GDL and LPC. Having gained some great experience in trade & export finance and financial regulation respectively this candidate is keen to move into a finance related seat.

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Candidate B
Looking for his third seat. He has a Law degree from the University of Warwick and has also completed an MSc in Politics and Government in the EU from LSE achieving a Merit. His most recent experience has been working for a boutique litigation firm gaining extradition and white-collar crime experience. Open to a range of opportunities to build his experience.

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Candidate C
Looking for her final seat. She has a Law degree from Queen Mary, University of London. She has gained a variety of experience within financial services, including time at Investment Bank Goldman Sachs before getting her training seat at boutique firm and then a financial consultancy; gaining experience in fraud and extradition, privacy and data protection and most recently commercial and regulatory work. She is open to a wide range of opportunities to compliment her training contract.

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Candidate D
Looking for his second seat. He has a BA in Modern History and master’s in Law, Business and Management and achieved a commendation in both his GDL and LPC. Having completed his first seat at a financial consultancy firm, he has gained some great experience in financial services regulation and is open to working in any area of law to build his experience.

Accuflex Lawyer Spotlight

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Candidate A
5 year PQE, Cambridge University educated, trained at Clifford Chance with three years’ experience at Dentons in dispute resolution and arbitration. Pragmatic and proactive team-player with excellent drafting, research and management skills. Returning from a sabbatical spent working at Unicef UK looking for interim or permanent opportunities.

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Candidate B
Accutrainee newly qualified Solicitor. Experience at three different Accutrainee clients including two law firms. His work has involved complex contentious matters as well as financial services and regulation. Prior to joining us as a Trainee he worked for Linklaters, Allen & Overy and Reed Smith which included litigation, arbitration and dispute resolution work. Looking for interim or permanent opportunities as an NQ.

Key Dates in the Legal Calendar

Accutrainee has put together some key dates that may interest you. Many events that are taking place in the next 3 months have moved to a virtual platform but are still charging to attend.

6th April 2020 – The Fringe Legal Summit (Rock stars of the legal profession share their best learnings, tips, and strategies to supercharge your practice). (VIRTUAL – FREE)

14th May 2020 – The Future of Legal Education and Training Conference (LegalEdCon) 2020 (VIRTUAL – PAID)

15th September 2020 – The Alternative Legal IT Conference 2020(Crowne Plaza Marlow, Fieldhouse Ln, Marlow) (PAID)

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