Vlogging magic circle trainee reflects on life in lockdown

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‘I’ve lost freedom, structure and purpose’

Credit: YouTube (Eve Cornwell)

Legal YouTube star Eve Cornwell has filmed herself reminiscing about her day-to-day life as a lawyer during the coronavirus lockdown.

In her ‘three-day self-isolation productivity vlog’ (below), Cornwell, a Linklaters trainee, laments:

“I’ve lost the everyday structure in my day-to-day. I get up, I commute, I go to work. I weirdly feel like I’ve lost a lot of purpose. I feel like beforehand I had, like, a set job and a role. Every morning I travelled with the rest of London on the Tube and we all went to work. At work, I had meetings with everyone, and saw my friends. I guess, I’ve lost freedom as well. I’ve lost freedom, structure and purpose.”

She then tries to bring these three aspects back into her life over the course of three days.

“Self-isolation is weird… because it’s not normal. As humans we’re not used to this much limited social contact and also being trapped in a really small space… not able to leave,” the magic circle rookie continues in the vlog which has garnered over 150,000 views a week on from when it was posted. “I’m floating and I can’t seem to hook onto anything and it’s affecting my brain,” she adds.

Viewers then watch the vlogger gain a sense of purpose through setting goals: she creates a LinkedIn page and declutters her work inbox from over 1,200 emails to just nine.

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She finds freedom by taking a walk to the park with her housemate (practising social distancing, of course, and staying two meters apart from passers-by) to read in the sun. “It was genuinely some of the least stressed and anxious I’ve felt in such a long time, I think, because I was out and about, I was moving and I was walking,” reflects Cornwell.

She finds structure towards the end of the short vlog when we see her back at work (remotely) from a week’s leave adjusting to her new team and department. Starting the work day at her usual 9:30am, Cornwell fits in two business calls and two to three hours of training, before deciding to pack up and leave London to isolate with her family in the North West.

This month Cornwell documented her journey to becoming an “agile worker” amid continued COVID-19 disruption. She filmed herself getting her home office set up.

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I’m relieved she’s talking about the emotions a lot of people are feeling right now but most people don’t seem to want to admit for fear of being called ‘self-centred’ or ‘selfish’. A broader issue happening that’s bigger than ourselves doesn’t invalidate someone’s emotions about it nor does it make having those feelings selfish.



Staring to miss Katie King and her Amal Clooney obsession. At least Amal is an interesting person.






People leaving London to isolate with their families is exactly what spreads this even further.

Also going out to read in the sun is definitely not a reason to leave the house ffs.



Hope the current trainees stay strong through this.

Qualification in 08/09 was a bloodbath, but we all muddled through.

Those if us who wanted to stay in law stuck with it and reaped the rewards of scarcity down the track, although it was financially tough at the time.

Equally, many mates who would have just accepted a NQ job because it was secure and well paid found roles outside law which made them much happier in the long term.

This time around, many at the partnership table will have personal experience of this type of economic climate and bang the drum for retaining associates and taking on NQs for when good times return, which they will.

I just hope and pray the dinosaurs at the top listen to us.



Womble Bond Dickinson already started chopping roles…


Random passer-by

Sounds very noble. The reality is that the easiest way to cut costs will be to chop heads and not take on NQs. To suggest partners will fight for NQs now, because they went through a tough patch 11 years ago when they were NQs and no one gave them a chance and crapped all over them, is very naive. Law firms are not charities, and you do not become a partner in a City firm because you are kind-hearted. The market still hasn’t recovered from post 2007/8, some big firms take on fewer trainees than they did before, salaries are often lower if you account for inflation (in all but US firms pushing those super high salaries), and competition has been so fierce. I see the grades these kids have now and many have to paralegal before getting a TC. City law has not recovered from the crash over a decade ago, and things are about to get a lot worse because now the entire world has been crippled by this, and some emerging markets are about to crumble. NQ hiring will take a slight hit in September, I expect the firms will do this for good PR. Then by this time next year the real carnage will begin and the associates and support staff will get the chop.


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