1. Please give an overview of your role and what this involves on a day-to-day basis:
I am a Legal Support Coordinator, which is very similar to a Paralegal. My day to day tasks include a variety of administrative, research and drafting roles. I am involved in research for advice to clients, drafting research notes and reports and giving presentations.
2. Have you learnt any new skills or developed existing skills?
Improved letter and email writing. Can draft reports and have increased legal and commercial awareness.
More confidence in presenting and meeting new people (networking).
Involved in a webinar about careers that was broadcast to 5 local schools.
3. To what extent do you enjoy your programme?
The work was occasionally dull (filing and indexing), but when researching and drafting it was very varied and interesting. Was involved in giving advice to a variety of clients and also in drafting merger notices and looking for potentially incriminating evidence in a market investigation.
I am very close to my team now after 8 months working at the firm. Our floor regularly has treats brought in and social events that are well-attended. Any new employee is made to feel welcome and there are presentations and lunches for people who leave.
The company tries to be approachable, and this is reflected in the diverse and friendly workforce.
4. How valued do you feel by Pinsent Masons?
Have been involved in many varied and interesting pieces of advice to clients. I think I am valued and this is reflected in the monetary value I can see in the prebills to clients.
Management at the firm isn't afraid to recognise success and good work - even partners make time for people at all levels. Appraisals are a good system for reassuring gap year students that they are makinga valuable contribution.
5. How well organised/structured is your programme?
Two day induction in London where all new trainees and Gap Year students from every UK office meet and receive a variety of training. This is good for forming friendships and breaking the ice.
We then have initial 3-day IT training and during the 8-month period were given many opportunities to apply for further training.
Structure varies by department but supervisors do take their supervisees under their wing. There isn't a formal structure for apportioning work but this suits the nature of the work the firm receives - if one department is busier than mine, there is the opportunity to undertake work for them and be exposed to different skills and areas of law.
6a. How much support do you receive from your training provider?
My supervisor had never supervised anyone before as a newly qualified solicitor. However, this meant that we had an informal and friendly relationship from the start, allowing me to feel at ease with asking questions and advice. The pace of work was initially slow which helped to ease me into the role, and my supervisor has tried to aid my professional development through regular appraisals.
One really useful way of improving my work has been revisiting of drafted documents by my supervisor. I may do the first draft, which he will then amend and discuss with me, and then his draft will receive a final look over by the partner. I get to see every stage of the process and discuss it with my supervisor.
6b. How much support do you receive from your employer?
Appraisals have helped me understand where I can improve. I haven't had any real problems that have required me to contact HR.
7. How well does your salary/package meet your costs?
I think the salary is adequate and quite generous given the invaluable experience gained during the programme.
8. Are there many opportunities outside of work?
I have been actively involved in the 'Starfish' corporate responsibility work, whereby I attend a local primary school every couple of weeks to read with the children there. The firm has sports teams that are open to all and certain departments have regular social nights.
Going out for lunches with your team is a fairly regular occurence, and I was always invited to client events.
9. Would you recommend Pinsent Masons to a friend?
It is a friendly place to work that also demands a high standard of work from its employees, meaning it is ideal for someone looking to progress their career and make great friends along the way.
10. What tips or advice would you give to others applying to Pinsent Masons?
No prior legal knowledge is required, but a decent commercial awareness is needed. Read the FT/Economist or any broadsheet to improve this.
Triple check your application form for spelling and grammatical errors and then get someone else to check it before handing it in.
Also look up the firm's 'competencies' which they look for in an interview on their website, and practise interview questions beforehand.
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