I have just finished my law degree at Queen Mary University of London and will embark on the combined LPC/LLM at the University of Law Leeds in a couple of months.
As this was my first work experience in a solicitor’s firm, I was unsure of what to expect, however, I was immediately struck by the warm and friendly atmosphere at SJP. Everybody at the firm was incredibly welcoming and I felt everyone genuinely wanted to get to know me. It was also great to meet and socialise with the other Vacation Scheme Students over the two weeks and to get to know others at a similar stage in their careers/studies as I am.
During the two weeks, I sat in various departments: compensation, company commercial and commercial property. Working across a range of different areas of law in the firm allowed me to appreciate what each department does, the types of claims and cases with which each deals and the types of clients which utilise these services. It was also interesting to see how different departments operated and I particularly enjoyed the lively atmosphere in the compensation department.
My tasks throughout the Vacation Scheme were varied and I worked with both genuine and hypothetical cases. I drafted client letters, leases, wrote reports, read through case bundles, read witness statements and expert reports, filled in Land Registry forms and was able to research into areas of law which I had not previously studied, including employment law and company law. I was also able to make use of legal search engines and databases and get to grips with the computer systems used at the firm.
The activities were hands-on and whilst at times challenging, I relished the opportunity to engage in the type of work that a trainee solicitor would typically do. This gave a great insight into the job and its demands. I was also given detailed and comprehensible feedback throughout and as well as utilising skills I have developed at university, I began to develop new ones which I can improve on during the Legal Practice Course.
I was able to work with people across a whole spectrum of expertise and experience and I was grateful that those I met were willing to discuss my future career plans and their own journeys to a career in law. I particularly valued the advice of the trainees at the firm who were very encouraging and honest about their own experiences.
I feel my confidence has improved having been involved in the Vacation Scheme. Discussing tricky legal concepts with solicitors with a wealth of knowledge and experience seemed daunting, however, I felt able to discuss my ideas and thoughts openly. The Vacation Scheme has also affirmed my wish to become a solicitor in the future. The experience has been invaluable in allowing me to appreciate what the job entails and has encouraged me to consider what I would like to specialise in.
I would highly recommend the Vacation Scheme to anyone interested in a career in law. It has been a highly educational and enjoyable two weeks and I am grateful for the time and effort which went in to organising such an insightful experience.