1. Please give an overview of your role and what this involves on a day-to-day basis:
As a participant in work experience, I was assigned to a different department in the Leeds Firm each day such as Litigation or Banking & Finance. I was then placed in the care of a trainee within that particular department from whom I was given tasks to compete such as research assignments which were often relevant to an ongoing case. I was kept busy at all times and the people at the firm were very approachable.
2. Have you learnt any new skills or developed existing skills?
I have learned how to research more effectively using a wider range of resources such as PLC, which in turn allowed me to produce more detailed research notes which I fully understood and was able to discuss with my supervisor. I have developed my existing people skills, having spoken to many individuals who have been in the same position as myself in preparation for university application in the new academic year. I also now understand the structure of the LPC course and it's involvements, and how an international case may develop which includes the difficulties arising when trying to implement the rule of Law.
3. To what extent do you enjoy your programme?
I am very pleased that I was accepted to the work experience programme because I have been offered an insight into the running of a commercial law firm, a significant experience when considering which area of law I would most like to practice in following university. I found the week very rewarding, as I know understand the differences between transactional and contentius areas of the firm, while appreciating that my main interest lies with the latter perhaps in litigation or CAD if I was to work for a firm such as Pinsent Masons. I was met by a very welcoming host of people within each department who were more than happy to listen to my questions and concerns, and offer the best advice at their disposal.
4. How valued do you feel by Pinsent Masons?
Pinsent Masons ensured that I felt I involved with the process continually throughout the process. I was emailed regularly confirming the process for being accepting into the scheme, while during the placement itself I was assured that my progress was excellent for someone of my age. A career at Pinsent masons is by no means out of the question; as a firm they seemed keen to make us aware of follow up opportunities such as their gap year programme and later vacation scheme which I will consider when at university.
5. How well organised/structured is your programme?
The programme was very well organised. We were given a timetable at the beginning of the week which informed us which departments we would be spending each day with, and the corresponding trainee we would be working with. Within the departments there were set tasks pre organised for us to complete, and hence we were given the freedom to take our lunch break accordingly as we knew what had to be done before the end of the day. The departmental talks at the start of each day were also very useful, and offered another opportunity to ask trainees about their experiences.
6a. How much support do you receive from your training provider?
I received continual support throughout the programme. Our supervisors were the first port of call when we had an issue regarding an allotted task, while they were more than helpful to request help from the leader of the work experience week when I had any further queries. It was made plain at the start that pinsent masons pride themselves on their approachability, and hence I was able to speak to people at all stages in their career to discuss the various routes into Law and what they would recommend.
6b. How much support do you receive from your employer?
For the purpose of this survey, my employer was the same (Pinsent masons) as the training provider as I had to apply directly to the firm for the work experience which was then organised centrally for all participants in the UK. Therefore I can only affirm that there was more than sufficient support throughout the programme which made me feel at ease and able to fully enjoy the week and exploit the opportunity to experience the running of a commercial law firm.
7. How well does your salary/package meet your costs?
As I only attended the week at Pinsent Masons as a participant in work experience, although I had to follow an application process, the placement was voluntary and a salary was not associated with the programme; it was merely an insight into the running of a successful commercial law firm such as Pinsent masons, useful for when making decisions further down the career path.
8. Are there many opportunities outside of work?
From the start of the week I was informed of the gap year programme which was is available from students directly after their A level studies if they wish to delay starting at university. It appeared to be a very valuable programme for those who would prefer to experience a law firm in closer detail before committing themsekves to a chosen career path, while a salary would perhaps part fund their further studies. I also attended a meeting surrounding the events which occur at the firm, demonstrating how all staff get invovled with social events throughout the year.
9. Would you recommend Pinsent Masons to a friend?
I would recommend Pinsent Masons to anyone considering a career in a commercial law firm, or anyone unsure of whether commercial law is where their interest ultimately lies, as the week showed me that contentious facets of law are more thought provoking personally while it proved a useful comparison with my experience of a high street firm. The people were very welcoming which enabled me to fully enjoy the experience and meet some inspirational individuals and people in the same situation as yourselves.
10. What tips or advice would you give to others applying to Pinsent Masons?
I would advise others to complete fully the application form to the very best of their ability. Genuine enthusiasm for a career in law must be communicated on the form, in addition to excellent GCSE grades and why previous experiences have well prepared the individual for the work experience. They need not have experience of working in a legal environment before; any previous voluntary or paid employment which demonstrates the skills needed to practice as a commercial lawyer will appear very enticing for anyone reading your application.
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