1. Please give an overview of your role and what this involves on a day-to-day basis:
This is a week-long work experience placement at Pinsent Masons, an international, commercial law firm. Work experience students have the opportunity to spend each day in a different department, shadowing trainee solicitors as well as assisting solicitors within the department. I spent days in Intellectual Property, Projects, Commercial Property and Litigation. Trainee solicitors also gave a presentation each morning on different aspects of the legal profession, providing more information for work experience students on entry to law, commercial law and litigation.
2. Have you learnt any new skills or developed existing skills?
The work experience programme gave me greater insight into the role and responsibilities of commercial solicitors. I had to interact with senior solicitors within the firm, draft legal letters, read and check a number of legal documents, and take part in a hypothetical business exercise and presentation with the other work experience students. All of these tasks helped to develop skills needed to be a solicitor, as well as being useful for everyday life and university entrance. My IT skills were also developed, as a great deal of the work I did was on the computer. Finally, I was shown the proper procedure for a number of legal processes including formal letter writing, contract law, and the progression of civil legal proceedings through the courts.
3. To what extent do you enjoy your programme?
Overall, the programme was very interesting and enjoyable. Everyone was very friendly and always available to help, which contributed to my enjoyment of the programme. And, everyone was able to answer questions I had on a wide range of topics, from the task at hand and the role of the department, to questions about university and the day-to-day duties of commercial solicitors.
4. How valued do you feel by Pinsent Masons?
The staff at Pinsent Masons made me very valued, everyone was interested in my university application, future career plans and specific legal interests. I was thanked for all work I had done and made to feel as if I had made some contribution to the team, however small. The trainee solicitor explained and involved me I many of the large projects they were part of, which again helped my understanding of commercial law. Without exception, everyone made sure I was welcome and that my work experience placement was a valuable experience.
5. How well organised/structured is your programme?
The morning of the first day was taken up with presentations on the firm and its structure, IT training, commercial law and a Q&A session with a trainee, and the majority of the afternoon was taken up with a business exercise for the five work experience students, which involved teams putting together presentations to their "client" giving legal advice about the next moves for the business. For the rest of the week each morning we were given a presentation
6a. How much support do you receive from your training provider?
The trainees who I was shadowing all did their utmost to make sure I had everything I needed, helped with any concerns or problems I had and explained the work they, and their department, were doing.
6b. How much support do you receive from your employer?
Work experience students are mentored by trainee solicitors in each department, all of whom were very welcoming. They all made an effort to learn names, and each trainee took time at the beginning of each day to get to know you, find any particular legal interests of yours, talk a little about their own path to becoming a trainee and explain the work of the department. Many of the trainees also gave me tasks during the day that were relevant to things I had told them I was interested in. Other staff at Pinsent Masons were also very welcoming, I had the opportunity to meet partners and to shadow senior associates. There was plenty of access to support from HR too, who gave me their contact details and emailed throughout the week to check up on my progress.
7. How well does your salary/package meet your costs?
N/A as the position is unpaid.
8. Are there many opportunities outside of work?
Depending on the particular meetings and work to be done each day, some work experience students had to opportunity to sit in meetings and telephone appointments with clients, or to go to court. However, due to the short nature of this work experience placement, there are not many opportunities outside of work, unless there happens to be a large event the week of the placement.
9. Would you recommend Pinsent Masons to a friend?
The work experience placement is an extremely valuable opportunity to learn more about the roles of commercial solicitors in many different fields. Everyone at Pinsent Masons was very friendly and happy to help with any concerns I had, whether they were about the particular work I was doing or about entrance and careers to law. It was a thoroughly enjoyable experience and confirmed to me that I want to study law at university, and possibly have a career as a commercial solicitor.
10. What tips or advice would you give to others applying to Pinsent Masons?
The application form is very detailed and takes some time to complete, especially compared to similar applications for work experience placements. Some background reading into the firm and a general awareness of current affairs and developments in the world of business was also useful.
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