Lawyer Profile Catherine Lusher
I started my Pinsent Masons journey with a vacation scheme in the summer of my second year of a non-law degree. As a historian sitting in the competition department for two weeks I was initially nervous about being thrown in at the deep end with legal jargon and work, but I was given tasks perfectly pitched to my ability, which were both interesting and challenging and allowed me to get a great insight into life as a trainee. I received my training contract offer after my placement, and once I graduated I then completed my GDL and LPC in London. On the LPC all the London Pinsent Masons trainees were placed in a class together for our elective term, which meant we all become good friends before we even started at the firm.
About six weeks before I began my training contract, I was told I would be completing my first seat in the Glasgow office, despite being a London-based trainee. Having never visited Glasgow before, naturally I got straight onto google to look at pictures and find out more about the city! As I was away travelling at the time, I arranged a time for Graduate Development to call me when we would both be in sociable time zones, and I got lots of information about how the firm would support me during my secondment, for example by providing me with an allowance for visits home, helping with expenses and arranging the relocation of my belongings. Once I got back to the UK I went up to Glasgow to flat-hunt and was able to have a meeting with Graduate Development in the Glasgow office, which was really useful as it meant I at least knew where to go on my first day, and I was able to meet my new team in advance of starting, which helped ease any nerves!
My first seat was in Planning and Environment, Energy and Infrastructure- a team which I really loved! The work was completely varied and I was involved in all types of renewable energy projects from a planning and property perspective. From day one I was given a high level of responsibility and allowed to manage my own small matters with appropriate support and supervision. The team trusted me right from the start, and that level of trust allowed me to gain confidence right away and to feel comfortable drafting documents, talking to clients and taking on challenging work. Throughout my seat I was genuinely made to feel like I was a useful member of the team, and everyone was eager to teach me, help me and ensure I got the most from my six months in the department.
The other trainees in the Glasgow office also made me feel at home straight away, and made a real effort to include me socially, which helped enormously as I didn’t know anybody in the city! I was also lucky enough to be in Scotland during January, meaning I was able to attend the firm’s Burns Supper, which was a real highlight.
My experience on secondment was overall really beneficial as it allowed me to grow my network within the firm, and demonstrated how well we work as one firm throughout our different locations. When in Glasgow, I worked closely with colleagues in Edinburgh, Birmingham and London for example, and now I am back in London, the nature of much of the work we do means that it is not uncommon for different offices to work together on cases and deals.
Now back in the London office, I am sitting in the Corporate Crime team, and although the transition from transactional to advisory work took a little getting used to, I am enjoying the litigious work and experiencing a new team. As well as matter-related work, I have also been involved in lots of business development, corporate social responsibility events and am also a member of the trainee social committee which is great fun!