Trainee Blog: How to get the most out of working in a team split across different offices

Team collaboration creates great opportunities for trainees to learn from different lawyers and to make the most out of their training contract. My current team are based in our three main offices (Exeter, London and Bristol) and as a trainee it might be difficult at first to work with everyone on the same level. Below are some tips to help encourage and maintain those relationships when distance is a factor.

Teams, Teams, Teams (or any other video conferencing)

With so many of us working in a hybrid of working from home and the office, we aren't strangers to the benefits of video conferencing. At Michelmores, we are encouraged to use systems like Microsoft Teams whenever possible, an obvious way of connecting with colleagues that you might not deal with daily. Think of these connections in the same way that you would have brief catch ups by the coffee machine or the printer. This helps strengthen relationships and ensures others feel just as much a part of the team despite not being in the same location.  

Be interested

It is likely for workload across team members to vary greatly, creating the perfect opportunity to fully explore different aspects of the seat that might interest you. Don’t be afraid to show a genuine interest in the work your colleagues from different offices are involved in. You might not be able to assist straight away but not only will colleagues appreciate it but they are more likely to think of you when the time does come.

Be proactive 

Taking initiative with the work you have will place you in good stead when working intra-office. Being able to spot next steps and suggest ways in which you can help, will maintain a consistent working relation with colleagues which allows you to continually learn from them. This is a great skill for lawyers and one that will be appreciated by those around you.

Ask for feedback

Getting feedback is part of the process but it is inevitable that in busy periods, and when not in the same vicinity, feedback may not always be immediate. It's good practice to follow up and ask whether it can be diarised for a more suitable time.  This will help you improve and broaden your skills by picking up on different ways of working.