Life as a trainee solicitor at Olliers

Written 12th January 2024 by Ruth Peters

At Olliers we are passionate in our commitment to encouraging new entrants to the profession. There is a recruitment crisis within criminal defence caused by many years of underfunding. We recognised the potential crisis many years ago and appreciated we needed to plan to develop our own talent.

Our annual intern scheme allows us the opportunity to meet students who wish to pursue a career in criminal defence. This has proved a huge success. We have been able to go on to recruit from those completing the intern scheme, assessing their fit within the Olliers team and training them through the Olliers Academy.

As criminal firms struggle to recruit at this time we are confident in the knowledge that we have a continuing flow of trainees developing their skills to flourish with us.

At present we have four trainees: Martha Odysseos and Isobel Philipson who are due to qualify at the end of January 2024 as well as Connor and Hope who are new trainees having started their training contracts in October 2023.

We asked some of our current trainees what they enjoy about their current role and how they find working at Olliers.

Martha Odysseos

My favourite aspect of the role is the range of work that I am exposed to. I deal with cases ranging from driving offences to drug conspiracies. Although daunting at first, I fully appreciate the independence I have gained. Within a few months as a trainee I was running my own caseload as well as assisting senior lawyers on complex matters. It is ultimately the team at Olliers that have made the experience all the better. As a trainee I am able to ask anyone a question at any point in the day. Everyone is always willing to assist and share their knowledge and experience with me, from providing guidance on legislation and case law to simply just running through a case with me. Coming up to the end of my training I look back and realise how much I have learnt in a relatively short period of time.

Connor Brylczak

My favourite part of the job is being trusted to get involved in a wide array of cases, some of which involve the most serious of offences. This has often led to me covering court trials across the country which is a great way to build a rapport with barristers and learn about the court process.

The most challenging aspect, particularly at the beginning, was getting to grips with the various portals, additional administrative tasks and file requirements that I had not previously experienced to ensure the files remain compliant.

My day to day involves checking my own cases, that I am responsible for, and ensuring they are up to date. I may also need to monitor other cases that I have assisted on to ensure any experts, interpreters or conferences have been arranged accordingly.

It is very rare that any two days are the same. I am currently undertaking my Police Station Accreditation so I am frequently visiting police stations to observe and more recently have done my

own police stations as part of my portfolio. My attendance at the Police Station will become more frequent, the further I progress with the accreditation process.

Hope Rea

During my time training with Olliers I have been able to attend both Magistrates Courts and Crown Court to shadow and assist with a range of different hearings and trials. I work with supervising solicitors who individually specialise in different areas such as sexual offences, serious crime and motoring offences. Assisting in trial preparation is the most exciting part of the job which has allowed me to meet and network with a range of barristers, discuss defence case strategy and the legal and procedural technicalities of working within the Criminal Justice System. I have participated in a range of different cases such as murder, fraud, serious sexual offences and online offences. As Olliers have a very successful pre charge team, I have also been able to work on pre-Charge cases which allows me to understand the police investigation stage more intricately. The range of my experience has allowed me to develop my understanding, confidence and knowledge of the entirety of a case, from start to finish. As a trainee, we are required to learn how to submit different Legal Aid applications, procedural documents in both Magistrates and Crown Court and the essential administration of a practicing solicitor.

Building my confidence has been the most difficult element of training but I am always supported by every solicitor and case worker in the office – we all start from somewhere! Each case is different so exposure to a wide range of cases helps me build my confidence speaking to clients, barrister and court staff. Each day is a brand new and exciting learning experience. Olliers have created a supportive, inspiring and an extremely competent training experience to nurture its trainees to be the best they can be and specialise in their own area of interest.

Olliers Summer Internship Scheme

Our Summer 2024 Intern Scheme will launch on Monday 1st April 2024. Olliers hold an annual Summer Internship Programme where we offer week long paid internships at our Manchester City Centre Office to both graduate and undergraduate students who are interested in a career in criminal defence.

Ruth Peters

Ruth Peters

Business Development Director

Manchester

Head Office

London

Satellite Office

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