Every summer, Pinsent Masons and Birmingham Law School welcome a group of first year students to our Birmingham office for an exclusive work experience programme. The participants spend 1 week in their dedicated department gaining hands-on experience, a chance to network with our lawyers and an opportunity to see what working in a commercial law firm is like.
Rowenna, one of the participants, wrote a blog about her placement to give you an overview of what to expect during your time at Pinsent Masons.
At 9.30am, I arrived for the Induction Day of the First Year Work Experience programme at the Birmingham office. Excited yet apprehensive, I was soon put at ease after introducing myself to fellow students. Everyone was friendly, and we wondered what the next week would have in store for us. Kevin, who co-ordinated the scheme, introduced himself to us, and we were led into a boardroom where we participated in icebreaker activities and were given an induction into the firm.
Soon after, our supervisors came to collect us. My supervisor, Toby, worked in the Litigation Department, where he was completing his final seat as a trainee. Each student was placed in a different department, ranging from Legal Engineering to Property Litigation, meaning that we each had varied experiences and worked independently throughout the week.
One thing that struck me immediately was the open-plan layout of the office. This meant that I was sat in-between a Trainee and a Partner, which created a friendly environment, as both colleagues were equally welcoming and approachable. The layout reflects the firm’s Approachable, Bold, Connected ethos, as the lack of hierarchy meant that everyone worked well as a team. Many colleagues took the time to discuss their practice group and job with me which made me feel welcomed.
My first task was a legal research on particulars of a fraud claim and English law which would assit Danish lawyers. One of the more difficult tasks that I was challenged with, was to create two case summaries for my supervisor ‘s presentation. It was rewarding to see that the tasks I was given genuinely helped others within the team.
Working independently meant that I got a true taste of what it is like to work as a trainee or solicitor within the firm. I enjoyed the variety of my workload, I was treated as a valuable member of the team and kept busy throughout the week. Other students also got involved in a wide range of tasks, for instance drafting emails or helping to compile bundles. Having spoken to my cohort, I found out that every department was different and the broad range of a trainee’s work is something that appealed to me greatly.
The placement also involved various social events. On the first night, the firm organised a bowling event, which provided us with an opportunity to get to know the trainees and fellow students in a more relaxed environment.
Following this, on the Tuesday evening, the majority of us attended a Legal Cheek event at the University of Law, which coincided well with the scheme. Following this event, my supervisor took the time to engage in a discussion with me about training contracts and vacation schemes, where I was able to ask as many questions as I liked.
On the final day of the scheme, we had a lunch meeting with Greg Lowson, the head of the Birmingham office. He explained more about the history of the firm and answered all of our questions. One of the conversation topics involved legal tech, its threats to legal services, as well as how the role of a lawyer is likely to change in the future. I am grateful to have had the opportunity to network with such a high-up member of the firm, which once again, reflects Pinsent Masons’ Approachable, Bold, Connected values.
I would advise anyone who participates in the scheme in the future to ask as many questions as possible and not to be scared to throw yourself into the deep end! Participating in the scheme has inspired me to work even harder, as I have seen what it is like to work in a commercial law firm first-hand.
Pinsent Masons’ First Year Work Experience Programme is a part of Birmingham Law School Careers Service initiative. To find out more, speak to your careers advisor at the University of Birmingham.