1. Please give an overview of what your virtual experience involved:
Pinsent Masons provided great insight to students like myself who were mostly unfamiliarised with commercial and corporate law. It included many sessions with trainee solicitors from all backgrounds who told us about their journey to their current positions, alongside some tips for us to follow their steps. It was also followed with numerous activities to apply our skills in a very relaxed, non-pressured environment.
2. What training and skills development did you learn from your virtual experience?
Most of all, I learnt how to become more commercially aware and how to build networks with both students and other lawyers involved with the programme. This was facilitated particularly by the events held in lunch which allowed for students to talk and meet, albeit virtually. I also somewhat expanded on taking on objective stance on a debate, when I had to argue for something which I didn't fully agree with.
3. To what extent did you enjoy your virtual experience?
I really enjoyed this experience. The hours were very reasonable and whilst sessions were information heavy and there were many in a day, not once did I feel overwhelmed due to the long lunch break and comfort breaks spread throughout. Aside from this, I also learnt a lot of information which has made me feel more comfortable at the idea of following a career in law and that the job field is not as unachievable as I first perceived.
4. How well organised was your virtual experience?
The experience used a platform called Forage which detailed the time until a session started, and until one ended all with a simple user interface which was really easy to navigate. Any information I could have needed was always on my screen and so I never felt confused at all. There was an induction meeting approximately two weeks before the course began so I knew what I was getting myself into and was prepared with all the websites and applications I would have to be using.
5. How much did you learn about the company culture and what it would be like to work there?
The biggest thing I took from Pinsent Masons, is that it is very friendly to the work-life balance. Most trainee solicitors I listened to mentioned that, in particular, they sought a job at the company because it gave a 'good vibe' and was very accommodating to their families and social lives respectively. Overall, the firm seemingly had really great chemistry and everyone was very friendly and understanding towards students surrounding the awkwardness of virtual experiences or technological mishaps.
6. How much did your virtual experience help you in deciding on your future career path?
Whilst the area of law I'm most interested in was not part of Pinsent Mason's agenda, I was very reassured by solicitors that a degree in law is not a requirement. Every single one said to do something you're passionate about and then come to law afterwards; this is something I have been struggling with for a while and so I was really relieved to hear that I can still follow English at university without sacrificing a career in law. Overall, they made me feel more assured in my decisions, although on a more personal law I still need to do more exploration to fully decide whether law is right for me.
7. Were you paid or reimbursed for this experience?
I am a sixth form student taking this opportunity up as part of gathering work experience to expand my CV and explore the field of work I am most interested in. This is virtual work experience and so there were no costs needing to be reimbursed and I was not paid as I was not employed.
8. Were there opportunities for networking and meeting other employees?
There were countless opportunities for networking and meeting other employees. We had many sessions with Pinsent Masons employees whom we were able to ask questions and they would share their tips on how to get started in law, but also how build more networks outside of this experience. The only drawback is that safeguarding guidelines meant that we cannot contact employers on sites like LinkedIn (although rightly so.)
9a. Would you recommend Pinsent Masons to a friend?
The hours were very friendly especially in comparison to other virtual experiences I have completed. Alongside the time, there was more than enough information packed into each day that I would call a sufficient usage of my time. This is a huge factor, especially because I would be recommending this to students in sixth form who are already balancing large amounts of work outside of school.
10. What tips or advice would you give to others applying to Pinsent Masons?
I didn't apply externally for the experience, and was offered a place on it off the back of another long-term programme I am undertaking for law. However, solicitors told me that in applying, the process was not overly difficult and that being authentic and honest about themselves was a key decision as it ensured that they were a right fit for both the firm but also themselves.