1. Please give an overview of your role and what this involves on a day-to-day basis:
Shadowing the trainee solicitors and being given talks by some trainee solicitors and partners concerning various aspects of the work at Pinsent Masons. 9-5 every day for a week during the summer, spending each day with a different trainee in a different department.
I was given the chance to carry out support work in some instances, such as: researching the companies involved in a real contract, and summarising all of the legal news in a particular field to be put into the 'weekly bulletin' type newsletter. However the more enjoyable aspects, in my opinion, were carrying out mock tasks of the genuine work that the solicitors were doing - e.g. reviewing two drafts of a letter of intent to discern the differences and their implications.
We also did teamwork exercises with all the work experience students. In one case we were given business scenarios and asked to outline how we would approach the situation to revamp the company and put it into the black.
Days were entirely filled on paper, however in reality, I spent much of my time doing nothing much, waiting for a new task while 'shadowing' the solicitors; they were expected to carry on with their job.
2. Have you learnt any new skills or developed existing skills?
It gave me an insight into the business world and how the everyday life in a legal firm might actually look. However, I didn't actually learn anything per say.
3. To what extent do you enjoy your programme?
I especially enjoyed the talks given by trainees and senior partners at the firm, as they gave an insight into a legal firm which I would not otherwise have experienced. The group tasks were also enjoyable. However the only disappointing aspect was the lack of structure in the shadowing timeslots, which lead to boredom and occasionally feeling ignored.
4. How valued do you feel by Pinsent Masons?
I felt about as valued as could be expected for a school-age work experience student. Everyone was friendly and helpful and it was particularly useful to get advice on the best options for pursuing a career in Law (I went just before applying to university).
I didn't feel like they were investing in me as the future of their firm, however I expect that this would become more evident in later programmes (i.e. during or after one's degree).
5. How well organised/structured is your programme?
I spent time in 4 departments over 5 days and there was a talk on a different subject every day, so I felt that the programme was as diverse as a week would allow. However, I would say that the time spent with the trainees in their department could have been better organised. Some were better than others and actually took the time to explain to me what it was they actually did and answer any questions which I had, however, after that, there was no structure of tasks (or something similar) and it was left to the trainees to see what they had which would be suitable for me to do: often not very much and I finished quickly.
6a. How much support do you receive from your training provider?
People were helpful in answering any questions I had: mine were particularly university related as I was there for results day, when I was thinking about writing my UCAS application.
6b. How much support do you receive from your employer?
I didn't see much of the senior management/partners, save for one talk: it appeared that they had better things to do and that we would be better off with the trainees.
7. How well does your salary/package meet your costs?
n/a - unpaid work experience
8. Are there many opportunities outside of work?
n/a - it was only 1 week long so there were no opportunities presented to us
9. Would you recommend Pinsent Masons to a friend?
It was invaluable to see how a legal firm really works, considering that I'd quite like to work as a lawyer in the future.