1. Please give an overview of your role and what this involves on a day-to-day basis:
Dependant on department allocation job roles can vary. I'm placed in Litigation and Compliance and my daily roles involve assisting other fee earners in preparation of witness statements, hearing, applications and research. Very integrated in the team and regularly attend social events both within the department and office. Will work with all members of the team through varying levels of seniority.
2. Have you learnt any new skills or developed existing skills?
No official qualifications are obtained, however lots of skills developed with regards to critical thinking, organisation, attention to detail and communication. Networking skills are further enhanced and an ability to work with professionals in a real-life office environment.
3. To what extent do you enjoy your programme?
The work can be demanding in terms of deadlines and organisation however is often interesting and has a great impact on the overall case so the work is worthwhile and feel motivated to do a good job. I enjoyed working with my team who fully welcomed me in and now feel very much integrated within. The gap year has fully met my expectations however I do feel that this is mostly due to being placed in a good department with worthwhile work. I believe that where you are placed highly affects the overall experience. I have enjoyed my placement at pinsent masons, so much so that I will be extending my contract.
4. How valued do you feel by Pinsent Masons?
There is excellent recognition of my work internally and genuine appreciation when work is carried out to a good standard. This does of course depend upon how effectively and efficiently work is completed. I feel that the team involved me on cases when required however where there have been quieter periods there is often very little to do which can be frustrating - none of which is Pinsent Masons fault purely due to a dip in work available. Upon involvement in cases, I was given lots of responsibility and able to take ownership of tasks, something I thoroughly enjoyed.
5. How well organised/structured is your programme?
Induction is good as there is the opportunity to meet other gap years and trainees however did feel that some of the discussions and presentations weren't really suitable for gap years and had a primarily more of a trainee focus. I felt that all the fee-earners were excellent at delegation and approachable on answering and clarifying questions. Although there is a team hierachy with regards to seniority, all senior fee-earners treated me as part of the team and gave me quality work which was valued and a valid contribution. Regular appraisals are held which give an opportunity to reflect upon the quality of work completed in the month and produce aims and targets for the following month.
6a. How much support do you receive from your training provider?
There is an excellent support system in place and gap year students are made aware of all resources available to them should they require support. The supervisor/student relationship is very good and I have come to consider my supervisor as both a colleague and a good friend.
6b. How much support do you receive from your employer?
Good support from employers with excellent policies and support systems made available to all employees. Graduate recruitment have contacts available should there be any problems and supervisor is always willing to help.
7. How well does your salary/package meet your costs?
The salary is good for me as I am still living at home with minimal living costs. I currently just pay for monthly travel, line rental and excursions/expenses. I do think that if I were to move out and rent a flat in Leeds, the pay would not be sufficient to cover the expense.s
8. Are there many opportunities outside of work?
Many opportunities are available outside of work, there vary from social, sporting, networking and educational resources. Often we have lunch presentations on changes to the law, refresher presentations on topics relevant to our department and always department socials.
9. Would you recommend Pinsent Masons to a friend?
Good experience, good pay, excellent work and social teams. I would however suggest that all applicants give serious thoughts about a year out not just the programme.
10. What tips or advice would you give to others applying to Pinsent Masons?
Spell check the application form thoroughly and ask someone to read through to ensure there are no errors. On the day of the interview the employers are most interested to observe your confidence and interpersonal skills. Always smile and be confident - this is what they are looking for.
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