Being a regular at the firm’s Monday night football sessions, I was naturally keen to get involved when Barclays invited us to a 5-a-side football tournament in aid of Fairbridge (a charity that works with disadvantaged young people in deprived areas). Events like this are not just a fun way to spend a Thursday afternoon away from the office, but are also a good way to meet clients, and with money being raised for charity too that makes three good reasons to don a pair of shorts on a chilly January afternoon. Seven eager players including trainees and partners from a varietyof departments volunteered, meaning we had a couple of subs, who it turned out were much-needed! The fast-paced first game of the tournament was a far cry from the relaxed, sociable kick-around we usually have on a Monday evening.
Forty teams representing banks, accountants, law firms and assorted other businesses turned up ready for battle on the day, making for ten groups of four teams, with the ten group winners and six best-performing runners-up going through to the knockout stages. With pride at stake and all to play for, the competitive nature of this tournament was apparent from kick off. Risqué tackles were flying in, and I myself even felt a bit violated when an opposition player (hopefully accidentally) grabbed a certain part of my anatomy during a tussle for the ball. Nevertheless, it was a strong start for Pinsent Masons, winning two out of three group games to finish top of a tight group. The team then started to play well together, knocking out Squire Sanders Hammonds in the next round, before beating tournament hosts Barclays in the quarter final. Then came what felt like the longest semi final ever. After going 2-0 up early on, the full time whistle never seemed to come and BDO pegged us back to 2-2. Then, in the fashion perfected by England in so many big tournaments before us, we crashed out on penalties and glory managed to elude us. So on to the third place play-off against rival firm Eversheds. Having played six games already that day, fatigue/injury was taking its toll and two of our players could not carry on, leaving five of us to play out an intense final game of the day, defeating Eversheds in a 4-3 thriller to take third place.
After an enjoyable day, a bit of healthy competition against clients and with bronze medals round our necks, it was easy to see how networking events can be one of the perks of being a trainee. The only thing we didn’t enjoy were the aches and pains that had to be endured the next day as we were left hobbling around the office. For those of you who a keen to see a few pictures from the event there appear to be a few in circulation on flikr, although unfortunately there do not appear to be any of the PM team.
If you have any questions on client events, networking or becoming a trainee solicitor generally, please go ahead and leave me a comment.