Pedal to the Corporate Mettle!

When I was offered the Gap Year placement at the firm and especially when I had been allocated to Corporate, I was extremely happy. Now I’m no John McClane (in style or substance), but part of me wanted the myths to be true; I wanted the long nights working perilously towards deadlines for big deals, working with excitement and adrenaline in the air…or something to that effect.  Some said I was abnormal for craving such an experience, but others agreed it was the mentality required to make the most of it.  Various people may not want any such experience, but I’ve recently seen and learnt the true nature and motivations that lie behind these Corporate myths, some of which may change people’s opinions.Firstly let’s touch on the most ubiquitous of associations with Corporate; late nights and deadlines.  Bluntly, yes they exist.  I’ve been in the office until midnight printing and filing documents, ready to be sent out the next day (I wasn’t forced to stay though).  While this sounds incredibly dreary, the firm’s complimentary dinner allowance definitely softens the blow (but it doesn’t aid fitness programmes)!  However, I’ve had other late nights where I have learnt a great deal – analysing the Takeover Code to help the team understand how a shareholder’s offer document needs to be structured for a particular deal, reviewing government documents in preparation for a bid – these are just a few nights where I’ve had to push myself to deliver the best work possible. You also get to employ and develop skills that normally lie dormant inside; approaching things logically, being organised, demonstrating commercial awareness – all understated skills but hugely beneficial.  But what makes it thrilling is the fact that it is real work, on live deals – how many eighteen-year-olds can say they worked in a relatively small team, in a big firm, on a deal worth millions and also managed to develop their skills at the same time?However, all this work doesn’t mean there isn’t time to play!  Unlike the stereotypical view of corporate lawyers (dull, jaded and depressing), the Leeds Corporate team has as many characters as Santa’s sack has toys!  Our first social was at the German Market in Leeds with a client, and it will forever be a night to remember – not just because of one Associate’s actions and stories!  Office-wide parties, such as the Christmas Party, have also been brilliant (courtesy of Partners taking over the dance floor!)  In fact, so far all have been legendary, in every sense of the word.A key ingredient to the success of this placement so far is other people’s willingness to get me involved and their approachability, from Trainee Solicitors all the way through to Partners.  Thanks to them I’ve been able to show what I’m capable of and at the same time I’ve been able to be a party to exciting events – such as conference calls with regulatory bodies and overseas clients.  Although I’m based in Leeds, I worked at the London office for a few days and even there, I found myself in a one-to-one meeting with a trainee learning a huge amount about company law and then being able to assist on the case.  The next day I helped a trainee solicitor verifying a prospectus to make sure the AIM rules were being complied with – here comes that cliché “no two days are the same!” Further, it is without question a testament to Pinsent Masons’ involving culture – exactly what a Gap Year student wants.And on that bombshell of a revelation, I shall end.Abdur-Razzaq