I am a Trainee Solicitor in the Criminal and Personal Injury Department of Lewis Rodgers Solicitors and I am now 5 months into my Training Contract. Prior to commencing my Training Contact, I worked in the Family Department of Lewis Rodgers Solicitors for two years and trained to become Police Station Accredited in this time. I still continue with some of the Family Law work, however, primarily my focus is now Criminal Law and personal injury claims.
I am now a fully qualified police station representative and therefore attend at the police station regularly for any clients who request our attendance, or as a ‘duty’ solicitor. We are allocated slots on a rota by the Legal Services Commission as a duty solicitor and last weekend was a busy one as we were on duty! I spent all day Sunday between Middlewich Custody suite and Blacon Custody suite in Chester. I enjoy the police station side of the job as it is always a different matter and you can never guess what will happen! It is a matter of thinking on your feet a lot of the time. For a lot of people, being in police custody can be a daunting experience and stressful for a lot of clients and I make sure I keep the client fully informed of what is happening and I feel it is good for the clients to feel they have somebody there who is on their side.
Aside from our duty slots, we are available at any time if we are requested to attend at any police station by an existing client or by anybody who wishes for us to attend, no matter what time and no matter what police station. Under the guidelines of the Police and Criminal Evidence Act, the police must offer a solicitor to anybody in custody and it is simply a case of asking for Lewis Rodgers Solicitors at this point if you would wish for us to attend. The police then contact the Defence Solicitor Call Centre who would in turn contact ourselves and we will make contact with the police station.If it is a position you ever find yourself in, do not feel that asking for a solicitor means that you have done anything wrong as this is simply not the case and nobody would think this and it certainly would not have any negative effect on the investigation. It is for your own assurance and benefit and as i earlier stated, it is good to have somebody there on your side.
Along with the police stations, the office and Court work continues. As a trainee solicitor, I do not yet have full rights of audience to speak at some Court hearings, however, last week i make my first application for bail in the Crown Court, which as a closed court in chambers is permitted. I thoroughly enjoyed this and hope to do more in the future!
Over the past few weeks, i have been preparing a case for trial which was in Manchester Minshull Street Crown Court this week also. It is interesting as we start the case and see it through the whole way, whether this proceeds to a trial, a guilty plea, or sometimes, a discontinuation from the Crown Prosecution Service.
None of the above means that the work on the office stops, and there is a lot of preparing and background work leading up to hearings and trials for criminal proceedings, and a lot of correspondence in personal injury claims that need dealing with on a daily basis and client appointments in the office. We work on a ‘no win, no fee’ basis for personal injury claims and there are so many people who do not make these claims as they do not feel they have any claim to make. We offer a free initial appointment for anybody wishing to consider making any claims and we can advise at this first appointment if there is a claim, so there is nothing to lose!
I am enjoying my progress in my training contract so far and look forward to what the future of it holds! The website will be updated regularly so keep checking to see how myself and my colleagues get on!