1. Please give an overview of your role and what this involves on a day-to-day basis:
As a legal support co-ordinator working in the commercial property department I was entrusted in effectively managing deeds for clients and ensuring all the relevant internal systems were updated acknowledging our possession of them. On a day-to-day basis I would be required to ensure that our deeds database remained updated after handling deeds and ensuring we have a record of them. I would also be in charge of certain datarooms for fee earners for clients where we would effectively have electronic copies of the deeds for the client online enabling them to access them whenever and wherever. It was my job to not only create a data room but also ensure it was well maintained and met the needs of not only the fee earners but also the client's direct requests. Internally I would interact with numerous fee earners on a daily basis and be given my own stream of work to complete for them. I would also have to contact the Land Registry and at times clients and auditors to inform them of the deeds we have however this was not so common. Overall this meant I was always busy and would usually start work for a matter from start to finish which is extremely rewarding as you know that your work has made an actual impact and without it the fee earner could not do their job.
2. Have you learnt any new skills or developed existing skills?
I have learnt the ability to interact with people over email effectively; this is a new skill, as prior to my time at the Firm I rarely communicated via email. I have improved on many skills such as effective time management, being more productive with regard to efficiency and the importance of devising ways which you are comfortable with in order to finish tasks in an efficient manner. I have also learnt the importance of prioritisation even further as in college when a deadline was not met for a piece of work for example the consequences were solely based to you however, in a professional working environment missing a deadline can have more serious implications. Therefore, you learn sub-consciously to ensure you set yourself your own deadlines well before the actual deadlines which prevents missing a deadline, this skill is certainly self-taught on the job.
3. To what extent do you enjoy your programme?
I thoroughly enjoy the programme, the work is varied and although in the commerical property department you are given a stream of similar work there are certainly opportunities to help and get involved with other teams such as property dispute resolution and asset management. I work in the assistant paralegal team and although the office is open plan we have our own area which I really enjoy as it enables you to interact with others who are doing similar work and can therefore help you should you require it without feeling nervous asking questions or for help. The culture within the firm is very work and play, there is an emphasis on team building activities and networking outside of work from team meals to sport relief 5 a-side football tournaments where gap year students can play alongside partners. This is turn means when you return to the work place you are likely to already know the majority of people you interact with on a day to day basis and therefore in turn are able to work together more effectively and efficiently. I expected the programme to simply give me a small insight into life in the legal profession; it has given me so much more. The programme has definitely exceeded my expectations.
4. How valued do you feel by Pinsent Masons?
I receive regular appraisal from my supervisor through meetings. The work I have done for fee earners is always recognised and appreciation is always given, there have been occasions where I have received gifts such as chocolate as an appreciation for my work. Externally when interacting with or on behalf of a fee earner with clients they are always happy to revert and inform the colleague managing the matter providing feedback on my work. With the vast majority of tasks I am involved from the start to finish of a matter which is thoroughly rewarding as you start a project and see it through to the end and quite regularly you will have fee earners come to you with queries so you will become the point of contact where you are given a lot of responsibility and are entrusted.
5. How well organised/structured is your programme?
The programme is very well structured and it is immediately apparent that a considerable amount of time, effort and resources have gone into ensuring we are given the best possible gap year at the Firm. The induction was based in London where we attended various presentations including one from the managing partner and could directly ask him questions! Not only this, we were given useful a heads-up with information as to what we are expected to do and the manner we should go about it. We also experienced a mock networking session which was different and unexpected however at the same time very exciting and helpful. Following the induction we received IT training and then when at our desk training from our supervisor along with booklets containing answers to any possible question we could think of regarding the role. Tasks were delegated via my supervisor who would receive work and those of us with the least capacity or those best placed to work on them would be allocated them.
6a. How much support do you receive from your training provider?
We are trained in house and therefore have no training provider as the majority role we are required to do can be taught within the firm.
6b. How much support do you receive from your employer?
I receive a lot of support from my supervisor and other colleagues within and not within my team. Whenever I have had an issue I have felt more than confident in asking the supervisor who sits only a few desks away and is so the support is very easily accessible. The attitude is very understanding and it never feels as if the supervisor is not glad I asked the question as at the end of the day everyone in the firm is always saying "there is no such thing as a silly question".
7. How well does your salary/package meet your costs?
I live at home so the salary and so do not have many costs and covers all other costs, such as travel and social.
8. Are there many opportunities outside of work?
There are numerous emails sent daily inviting anybody and everybody to get involved events and sports such as 5 a side, and now recently hockey and cricket. There is also a massive emphasis on charity events under the Starfish programme which provides you with the opportunity to mentor children either English or mathematics and much more.
9. Would you recommend Pinsent Masons to a friend?
Simply because I have thoroughly enjoyed my time here, I enjoy the work, have great friends and enjoy the ability and opportunities to get involved outside of work in numerous activities regardless of your position within the firm.
10. What tips or advice would you give to others applying to Pinsent Masons?
Just to be as honest as possible in both your application and interview, be yourself (the interviewers can tell when youre not!). Be genuine, don't cover anything up you will be respected and seen as honest if you say something you think is not great and chances are the interviewers will totally understand your individual circumstances and see your honesty as a huge positive as such integrity is great in the workplace. Finally, If you have any special circumstances use the box provided on the application, it is there for a reason!
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