School Work Experience
We know it is getting harder and harder for people to break into the legal profession without relevant work experience. That is why we have been running a formal work experience programme for a number of years. We now offer a number of week-long placements across our network of UK offices on this award-winning programme.
As you spend time in our stimulating environment, you'll learn about the commercial impacts of law on our clients' businesses, gaining an understanding of practice areas like property, employment and banking. You'll also get a fascinating insight into the legal profession and its associated terminology, so you can make the right decisions based on real knowledge.
Law firms come in all shapes and sizes and it's important you find the right one for you. As you've probably already discovered on this website, we specialise in the business-orientated field of commercial law. Whether your interest lies in commercial law or another area of practice, our placements can teach you valuable skills that will stand you in good stead for the future. You'll also be able to see the values we live and breathe each day as you work alongside our leading people: ambition and excellence, respect and co-operation, and an open and approachable way of working.
Who is eligible to apply?
We want to give ambitious candidates from any background the chance to experience life at a top law firm – demonstrating your proactive approach and giving your CV a real boost. You’ll also gain a valuable insight into the working world and find out if law is the right career path for you.
You'll need to be studying either your AS or A-Levels or equivalent qualifications (such as International Baccalaureate or Scottish Highers) when you make your application. If your application is successful you will therefore undertake the placement when you've finished either your first year of exams or your final year of exams before university. It doesn’t matter which A-Levels or Scottish Highers you are studying, or which degree you plan to study. In fact, some 50% of our graduate trainees join us having completed a degree in a subject other than law. We do ask that you like solving problems, are well organised, smartly presented, bright, articulate, and willing to ask questions and get involved.
Our award-winning work experience programme is designed to be as fulfilling as possible. During your week at the firm you will take part in a business exercise, attend information presentations and seminars in addition to shadowing our lawyers on real issues. You’ll also be supervised by one of our trainee solicitors who will help you gain an appreciation of the skills you need to be a good lawyer. These include letter-writing, research, and a good eye for detail.
We’re offering a one week placement in six of our eight UK offices - either London, Birmingham, Leeds, Manchester, Edinburgh or Glasgow. There are four intakes across 2013 in August and then in October (during the half-term holidays).
Week 1: 29 July to 2 August 2013 (English offices only)
Week 2: 5 to 9 August 2013 (English and Scottish offices)
Week 3: 21 to 25 October 2013 (English offices only)
Week 4: 28 October to 1 November 2013 (English offices only)
Please note that applications for the school work experience programme have now closed and no further applications can be considered. The closing date for all intakes was the 28 February 2013.
If you have any other questions relating to this programme please consult the FAQ section of the website.
Why undertake work experience?
James Spencer is a solicitor at the firm, below James explains why he feels work experience is such a valuable thing to gain even at an early age.
“I would not underestimate the importance of relevant work experience if you’re interested in a career in law. Without this, it could prove difficult to demonstrate to potential employers in the future that you are committed to the legal profession. However, perhaps more importantly, you need to prove to yourself that a career in law is right for you. It’s easy to build assumptions as to what it is like to work at a law firm but, without trying it for yourself, you won’t be able to establish whether it’s right for you.
At 16, I spent a week at a small, private client legal practice which gave me some experience of working in the legal profession. However, it was not until I was at university that I took part in formal schemes at some larger law firms, including Pinsent Masons. In my experience, these formal work experience schemes are much better than informal ones. At Pinsent Masons, you will be made to feel part of the team and won’t be left alone to do the photocopying and make the tea.
Joining an organised work placement or gap year scheme at Pinsent Masons would be a great way to gain exposure to a large law firm. It also enables you to gain a head start on the pathway to a training contract, placing you in a good position to make career choices during your time at university and beyond.”
We also thought it was worth letting you know what some of the students who completed the programme earlier this year had to say:
“Thank you very much for allowing me to spend a week on work experience at Pinsent Masons. I thoroughly enjoyed my time with the law firm and found the experience interesting and rewarding. The best part in my work experience was joining the different practice areas in particular Commercial Property. This is because it gave me a great insight into the kind of work each area executes and helped me confirm my decision to study law at university and eventually become a solicitor."
“I have loved every minute of this work experience programme. It has encouraged me to pursue a career in commercial law, something I was previously unsure about. The programme has also increased my awareness into options of entry into law and I have realised now how much I would love to do a gap year working at this firm. Finally, I would like to thank you for organising this work experience. I would recommend it to anyone wanting a legal career, you are given responsibility and made to feel so welcome in the short time you are here, the learning for me has been invaluable.”