1. Please give an overview of your role and what this involves on a day-to-day basis:
Pinsent Masons provided work exp students with a detailed timetable that explained the week. The activities listed include meeting the Trainee supervisor whom we spent time with and received work from and interesting presentations such as 'Entry to Law' and 'Departmental Structure'. There was a presentation or group activity everyday and then in the afternoon we joined our practice group, so each student went to a different department. For example, I joined Trainees in Corporate, Commercial and Property. I enjoyed gaining an insight into these different areas.
2. Have you learnt any new skills or developed existing skills?
I have learnt many new skills. Insight into differnet practice areas provided new knowledge of law, all my legal questions were answered and my brain was challenged when completing the work (especially the research tasks I was assigned). I also developed my public speaking in the mock employment tribunal. This is an area on which I think lots of young adults want to improve, so this was the perfect opportunity to mimick a law court situation and develop this skill. My confidence and professionalism improved because I was constantly talking to new people and knew I had to act professionally in the prestigious firm. I used specialist legal research sites such as 'Lexis nexis' and 'Westlaw' and the busines group exercise helped to increase my commercial awareness and negotiation tactics.
3. To what extent do you enjoy your programme?
On the whole, I really enjoyed the programme. It felt very structured because we were given a timetable that outlined the whole week - I appreciated this because I like organisation and was excited about what to expect. Unlike previous work experiences, I mingled with students of the same age and enjoyed making new friends. The legal team knew their stuff, were friendly and helpful. One thing that let the programme down a little was that some of the Trainees who supervised me didn't give me as much time as I would have hoped for and ran out of tasks to offer me. However, this was not a big issue because on the last day I had an excellent Trainee who was friendly, provided me with stimulating tasks and made a lot of time to offer detailed and constructive feedback. I do appreciate that PM staff are very busy and at the end of the day, if every aspect of the programme isn't fantastic, that is to be expected because we are only work exp students and that reflects real life experience.
4. How valued do you feel by Pinsent Masons?
Mostly very valued. They really care about career development and offered lots of tips when applying for jobs. They also reviewed by CV. Apart from the Trainees who I felt could have made me feel more welcome, the staff genuinely engaged with me and made me feel valued.
5. How well organised/structured is your programme?
Very well organised. The staff delivering presentations were consistently on time, it was clear which rooms we needed to attend and the timetable meant we knew exactly what was going to happen, and when. The working day was from 9:30 til 17:30 and this helped to establish a routine.
6a. How much support do you receive from your training provider?
Lots of support. After most of the work I completed, the Trainees reviewed my efforts and demonstrated how I could have improved a particular argument, or pointed out an area I missed. There was also a direct email link with the graduate recruitment staff and they told us to contact them if we had any problems. If we had IT issues (like I did!) the Facilities dept were very happy to assist.
6b. How much support do you receive from your employer?
As discussed, ample support.
7. How well does your salary/package meet your costs?
It was only a one week programme and was unpaid. I think this was reasonable because Pinsent Masons provided us with a £5 lunch voucher to use in the café on day one, they are offering the programme voluntarily, and the staff gave up a lot of their time to provide us with a memorable and useful experience. There are also a lot of offices around the country, so travel expenses should not in theory be expensive.
8. Are there many opportunities outside of work?
There was the opportunity for some of the work exp students to go out for lunch on the last day. We were told that there is are PM football and netball teams and if we stayed for longer, we could have joined one of these. There is also a social networking group with Law firms around the area. Leeds is a diverse and exciting city, so I went with one of the work exp students to watch a case at the Crown court one lunch time, so there are many opportunities.
9a. Would you recommend Pinsent Masons to a friend? *
9b. Why? *
Friendly team, many opportunities, career devlopment advice and you can meet new people and really begin to get your foot on the legal career ladder.
10. What tips or advice would you give to others applying to Pinsent Masons? *
Read the information pack that they provide thoroughly - that's what it is there for! Always arrive to the office on time. It doesn't look great if you roll out of bed at 9 and are late. Be friendly to everyone and show enthusiasm. Listen very carefully to the instructions the Trainees deliver. If you ask them later what they said, you don't appar attentive or interested. Make notes during the presentations. You may be really absorbed in the discussion, but trust me, it is surprisingly easy to forget things. Make your application varied and enthusiastic for law.
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