Manaar Dayoub

Trainee solicitor

What was it that attracted you to Capsticks?

Capsticks stood out to me as a firm where I would feel a sense of achievement working with public sector clients, whose purpose is to make a positive difference to people’s lives. The firm’s values of putting ‘people first’, ‘doing the right thing’ and ‘forward thinking’ also really resonated with me.

When researching the firm, I also discovered that Best Companies ranked Capsticks as “an outstanding company to work for” in 2022. Career progression is massively important to me and I knew that Capsticks would provide me with the opportunity to develop to my full potential.

What has your training been like?

I’m in the early stages of my training contract, with my first seat in the Corporate and Commercial division. The transition from paralegal to trainee has been seamless for me! The main difference is that I now have cases in my name and conduct the day-to-day handling of the matter, with appropriate levels of supervision.

At the start of my first seat, I had a meeting with my trainee supervisor to discuss what I wanted to achieve during my training contract. This was useful for me as I was able to ask for opportunities to attend more court hearings and a mediation, which my line manager is more than happy for me to do.

In my current seat, I assist on a range of contentious matters including contract disputes, debt recovery and defamation. The type of work is really interesting and I’m able to experience all stages of the litigation process from pre-action, through to court proceedings being issued. I’ve learned that the key is understanding the client’s objectives and offering the most realistic and pragmatic approach to resolving the dispute.

What does the typical day of a trainee look like?

Every day in the life of a trainee in Commercial Litigation varies. Typically, I start my morning by sorting through my emails and updating my to-do list to plan the day ahead. It’s really important to prioritise my workload, particularly as there are frequent court deadlines. I regularly liaise with a Partner and Senior Associate in my team to discuss my workload and whether I have capacity to assist on other matters.

I often liaise with clients, attend client meetings and conferences with counsel to take a note and follow up on next steps. One task I commonly undertake is reviewing Statements of Case and drafting letters to the other side. Other typical tasks include; corresponding with the court, drafting instructions to counsel, disclosure exercises and considering Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR).

What do you enjoy most about your role?

I love the fact that every day is different in the Commercial Litigation team. I particularly enjoy the level of responsibility I’ve been given, and that I’m being exposed to a wide variety of work.
Capsticks cares about its employees having a good work-life balance and although there are some days where I may work slightly later to complete tasks, it’s not something that’s expected of me. I’m trusted to manage my own time and prioritise my workload to meet any targets or deadlines. Having a slightly lower chargeable hours target as a trainee allows for personal development as well as professional development. For example, I can take part in the Corporate Social Responsibility Committee, the Wellbeing Committee and the Social Committee, which are all very rewarding experiences. I also have time to expand my knowledge, whether that be reading cases, reading practice notes on PLC or completing training.

I’m based in the Birmingham office, which is a lovely working environment, but I also work regularly with colleagues across our other offices, so I’ve made many friends along the way.

I’m looking forward to rotating seats so I can broaden my knowledge and experience in a different area of law, and have the opportunity to work with more public sector clients.

What advice would you give to future trainees?

Capsticks recruits internally into its training contract positions from its ambitious and talented paralegal pool, so I’d highly recommend starting your career as a paralegal. This will create a solid foundation for you to progress as a trainee and will offer you invaluable skills that you’ll draw upon throughout your legal career. I’ve found that the best way to make the most of my experience has been by putting myself forward to try new tasks and seeking feedback from my peers along the way.