Robin Gronbech is a newly qualified solicitor at Shakespeare Martineau, he kindly shared what it’s like to transition from a trainee solicitor, the benefits of working at a leading law firm and key advice for aspiring legal professionals.
Can you discuss your legal journey thus far?
I studied Law at Exeter University from 2015 – 2018, then completed the LPC full time with the University of Law. After getting some legal experience before and during university, I secured a training contract with Shakespeare Martineau in Birmingham.
Two years later I completed my training contract in August 2021, and I qualified as a solicitor and joined the Employment team as an NQ (Newly Qualified solicitor).
Why did you choose to continue your legal career with Shakespeare Martineau as a solicitor?
The work I do on a day to basis is really varied and interesting. I’ve had the opportunity to work closely with lots of the firm’s clients from an early stage, with plenty of advice and support from the senior lawyers in the team.
There’s a real feeling at Shakespeare Martineau that it’s a firm that cares about its people and the communities it operates in. I’m always seeing colleagues volunteering and raising money for local charities in our internal newsletters. I’m a big fan of our CEO Sarah Walker-Smith.
If you’ve seen her on Linkedin, you’ll know she’s a very cool boss that clearly cares about the people that she works with, but also important issues like climate change and racial inequality.
Lastly, people who work at Shakespeare Martineau can feel the growth and forward momentum in the business at the moment. This year Shakespeare Martineau has created a new professional services group called Ampa, which acts as the parent for the business’ family of brands that work alongside Shakespeare Martineau.
This includes Lime, Corclaim, Marrons Planning, and just recently the newest partner CSS assure in the cyber security sector. The Ampa group has big ambitions for growth in 2022 and beyond, and I’m excited to be involved with that plan and play a small part in that progression.
What was the process and transition like going from a trainee solicitor to solicitor?
As I was working in the employment team already, it didn’t feel like much had changed on my first day as an NQ. However, over the weeks since I have begun taking on more responsibilities and working more independently.
For example, I am now involved with providing fee estimates for work, managing WIP and billing for matters, and advising clients independently in one to one meetings.
I’d also be lying if I didn’t say one of the best parts of qualifying is the first payday!
For anyone approaching qualification I’d say it’s natural to feel nervous, and it’s normal to grapple a little with imposter syndrome. Make sure you speak to your team members and supervisors, who will support you during the process. Remember that they want you to succeed as much as you do!
Lastly, I’d recommend staying in touch with your fellow ex-trainees, as well as clients and colleagues you met during your training seats. You never know when those connections might come in handy in the future.
What are the benefits of working at Shakespeare Martineau?
Shakespeare Martineau has recently announced its new empowered working model. You read our CEO Sarah Walker-Smith’s explanation of what this means here. I am able to work from a mixture of the London and Birmingham offices, as well as from home.
We are trusted to get our job done from wherever works best for us and our clients. I really value that trust that the firm puts in its staff.
Can you tell us what kind of tasks you’ve undertaken?
Being an employment lawyer is the best of both worlds, as you are able to get involved in contentious and non-contentious work. On any given day I might be taking a witness statement for a tribunal claim, writing an advice note on maternity leave, or drafting and reviewing employment contracts and workplace policies.
We also run training sessions for employers on processes like redundancies, TUPE transfers, or running grievances and disciplinary investigations.
Employment lawyers have been kept particularly busy during the Covid-19 pandemic, as we’ve been advising employers on the Coronavirus Jobs Retention Scheme, better known as furlough. More recently we’ve been giving training and drafting vaccination policies for our clients.
What 3 tips would you give to an aspiring solicitor?
- Be willing to take every opportunity that comes along.
- Remember that developing and maintaining the lawyer-client relationship is key.
- Always treat support staff like the heroes that they are.