From the Office to Bedford and Back Again…

As we are made aware on an almost hourly basis, the credit crunch is upon us. So why would Pinsent Masons decide to send its trainees away for a week long Professional Skills Course, when most other firms decide to save bags of money and teach the course in-house or at the College of Law?

I am Sam Snell, a first seat trainee in the International Construction and Energy Disputes Department based in London. I attended the elusive Bedford training course and here’s what I found out…

Day 1

After an early start, the London contingent arrived at the Robinson Conference Centre greeted by trainees from all over the country. In total 73 of us were then herded into our seats for a day of lectures. Despite the immediate hitting of the books, 5.30pm came round quickly and we then got to see what delights the hotel had in store for us. Beautiful rooms and plenty of biscuits – I began to think that I was going to like Bedford!

That evening’s delicious three course dinner was the first of an abundance of food that we were to gorge on throughout the week. Afterwards, David Linacre of Graduate Recruitment held the world’s longest quiz (thankfully in close proximity to the hotel bar) and we all headed to bed.

Day 2

Followed a similar course: lectures on client care, file opening and the like. That evening’s entertainment involved a rickety old bus taking us to a bowling alley in the heart of Bedford. Bowling was a success, even if it was more because of the incredibly cheap drinks and banter than the snazzy disco lights lining the bowling lanes.

Day 3

The real work began; or shall I say the examinable materials. After being told that 97% of candidates pass the PSC, we all were a tad more optimistic. The subject was FSMA 2000, which we all had hoped would remain a distant LPC memory, but with David Potts at the helm it was a surprisingly enjoyable session. The day then ended quietly for the trainees with ad hoc rehearsals for the upcoming talent show…

Day 4

More exam techniques and Financial Investments were discussed on Thursday but I shall not waste my precious word limit discussing this. The highlight of the day was the fancy dress/talent show of the evening. The theme was to wear a costume beginning with ‘P’ or ‘M’. Katie Price, Pirates, Minnie Mouse and Mr Motivator (Steve Dania of Graduate Recruitment) were all in attendance. The talent show began (and actually ended) with the ‘Manchester Mimes’. Their stellar performance centred on the infamously hilarious Health & Safety video we had to endure earlier in the week. In spite of stiff competition from the other offices (including a re-written Grease Legal Megamix from London and a Glee tribute from Birmingham) they won the show hands down.

Day 5

The next morning was a mass of slightly worse for wear trainees and bright eyed lecturers. We then all went our separate ways towards the start of life as trainee solicitors, fully trained in the art of Financial Services with dreams of grabbing an ISA on the way.

And So…

The general feeling amongst the trainees was that the week was a major success and the decision to keep funding the trip was definitely the right one. Not only did trainees from all over the country get to know each other well, but the thought of completing a seat in a different office to our own is not as daunting, now that there are plenty of friendly faces waiting for us there. Bedford – 1: Credit Crunch – 0.

If you have any questions about Bedford or my new life as a trainee solicitor then do get in touch. Please don’t ask for any pictures of the fancy dress though ‘what goes on tour stays on tour’!

Sam