Time goes, you say? Ah no! Alas, Time stays, we go.
The above Henry Dobson quote couldn’t be better suited to describe our time in Leeds. For both of us the Gap Year Programme was about far more than getting some high-quality commercial and legal experience, the fact that we both lived in completely different cities to where the programme was being offered (Joe lives in Macclesfield and Razzaq in London) meant that we had taken the nervous step of moving away from home into a new city to begin what would become a new stage in our lives; if the mountain would not come to Muhammad, then Muhammad must go to the mountain! And this turned out to be one glorious mountain for us…
It feels like only the other week when we were all in London for our Gap Year induction with the trainees – that day was actually eight months ago and the day that we leave has now come. The more we think back, the more we realise how much we have grown and learnt; for Razzaq, a great understanding about companies’ legal obligations and corporate mergers and acquisitions (private and public) and for Joe, industry developments and large-scale, long-term construction deals and projects. For us both, unparalleled experiences of living independently, being self-reliant and most importantly, gaining knowledge of what a lawyer does on a day-to-day basis. Being in a law firm for eight months gives you the time to adjust to working in a commercial environment to an extent that it becomes what you perceive as “the norm.” It is only when the programme ends that you really realise what a fantastic opportunity you have had, how much you have seen about an industry which, for us, was largely hidden before.
Having gained these experiences, we have found both ourselves more driven and determined to make the most of university and especially the spare time we will have in the coming years. Joe is studying Law with Business at Birmingham and Razzaq is studying Economics at Bristol). Having been able to see the competition to get into the industry by way of training contracts, vacation schemes etc from inside a law firm, we now appreciate more than ever what is at stake and how jobs for new graduates are harder than ever to come by, particularly popular jobs such as those in commercial law.
After leaving Pinsent Masons I’m going to have a short three week break before jetting off to America with CCUSA. When I’m there I will be a shooting instructor at a summer camp in North Carolina. After several weeks of torrential Yorkshire rain I’m especially looking forward to the clear skies and sunshine of the Blue Ridge Mountains!
After that I plan on travelling around the US for about a month before coming back to England to study at Birmingham and to enjoy more torrential rain. Let the good times roll!
The firm offered me a two-month contract extension within the Banking & Restructuring group in London, where I will be working on a large project. It will be a great experience to work in my hometown, although my experience of Leeds has definitely clouded my judgement on that topic!
For the rest of the summer I will be coaching at my cricket club in Ealing and also trying to fit in a few games where I shall inevitably be bowled for a ‘duck’ at least once due to my lack of training! October 2012 will mark the beginning of yet another stage in my life; I will be re-packing my pilot’s hat (given to me by Joe), my Top Gun aviators and everything else to go to Bristol. Rockin’ in the free world!
Joe and Razzaq