A day in the life of a Shulmans trainee: David Ryan

David Ryan, a solicitor in our commercial property department, recalls a particular day at Shulmans.


I arrive in Leeds, having commuted in from Bradford, and head to the office. Today is going to be a busy day as I’m due to make my first appearance at Leeds County Court for a Final Charging Order hearing. Shulmans likes its trainees to attend these hearings to gain advocacy experience, and I’ll be on my own throughout so preparation is vital.


I have a meeting with one of my colleagues from the dispute resolution department (CDR) to go over the hearing and make sure everything is ready. The debt is in excess of £60,000 so it’s important to get it right! We’re both happy that everything is covered so it’s off to Court.

10:15 - 10:45

I’m at Leeds County Court waiting for our hearing. It’s in a long list so I’ve taken some research with me to fill the time. Luckily, my case is called quite early and the judge is happy with everything we’ve done, so the Final Charging Order is granted. Time to head back to the office.

11:00 - 12:00

I sit in on the CDR team’s business development meeting. Even though I won’t be directly involved in business development for the time being, it’s important to know what’s going on with the firm and new work so I take notes.

12:00 - 13:00

One of our clients has made a potential enquiry for CDR to act for them. Trainees tend to deal with finding facts for new enquiries, so I’ve taken as much information as I can and run conflict checks. Unfortunately, on this occasion it turns out we’re conflicted so I’ve had to draft an email to them declining their instructions.

Another colleague has asked me to do some urgent research on whether a potential witness can be compelled to provide a witness statement and attend trial. It’s a potentially tricky area but good practice, and I’m able to get the memo off to her with time to spare.

13:00 - 14:00

We have to make an urgent application to strike out the other side’s defence in a contract dispute. I help prepare the application, and then it’s back to Leeds County Court to get it issued. Sometimes delivering things over the counter is the only way! The application is stamped and it’s back to the office so we can serve it.

14:00 - 17:00

I’m helping different solicitors for the rest of the afternoon, ranging from obtaining some documents from Companies House to adding documents to a bundle for a commercial vehicle operator’s public inquiry, researching rights of shareholders and preparing a summary of costs for a mediation. Being flexible is a pretty important part of the job!

17:00 - 18:00

I catch up with any outstanding tasks and make sure all my time is recorded. I’ve been given the heads up as to some upcoming work I’ll need to help with, so I finish by planning ahead.