It’s not all about the law!

I’m Ella Hodgkins, a second seat trainee in the Birmingham office. I believe that when selecting which law firm to apply for it is not only the legal and business credentials that you need to consider but also what else the firm has to offer to enrich your life as a trainee.

When I found out about Starfish on my vacation scheme, I knew I was interested in being a part of it. As corporate responsibility programmes go, it does not get much better than Starfish. I wanted to get involved in the firm’s ‘extracurricular’ activities but I also wanted to do something worthwhile and this was the perfect opportunity.

From the moment I started my training contract, I realised there were so many Starfish activities to get involved in. In the past few months alone I have summarised legal documents to assist with the case of a defendant on death row in the USA, decorated the hall at a local community centre to host our annual OAP Christmas Party and organised a painting project at a local secondary school.

The most popular programme is Right to Read and once a fortnight I spend an hour reading with the children at the local infant school. This is a great way to do something totally different, but something totally worthwhile and the children benefit substantially from these one to one reading sessions.

There are also opportunities for trainees to get involved even further, by joining the Starfish Committee. I have been a member of the Committee since I started my training contract and it has been a great way meet new people and get involved with the organisation and management of various initiatives.

The firm gets involved in lots of projects within the local community and as I mentioned earlier I had the chance to organise a painting project at a local secondary school that the Birmingham office is closely linked with. We joined with Birmingham City Council and several pupils from the school to paint the drama room that was in serious need of re-decorating. It was great to see it all come together after a few months of organising and the finished result was fantastic. It made me realise how a few hours work can really make a difference and not only that but we were also able to make a donation for a new carpet in the drama room to finish the project off which was even better.

I think when choosing the law firm that is right for you, it is important to look beyond the law and think about what else a firm has to offer. Pinsent Masons is definitely a law firm that wants you to invest your time in activities that you find worthwhile and I know I definitely made the right choice.