I first heard about Pinsent Masons at a schools’ law conference where solicitors, barristers, and judges attended a school and spoke about their work. There was a solicitor from Pinsent Masons who talked about their role and the range of sectors Pinsent Masons works within, such as Energy and Technology, Science and Industry, which sparked my interest along with its reputation and commitment to community investment. I thought that it would be rewarding to work at Pinsent Masons with its focus on integrity and purpose.
I was later fortunate to attend a school work inspiration day, which was an opportunity for school students to attend a Pinsent Masons office. The day consisted of many useful activities such as group exercises, CV tips, and presentations, but most importantly, I was given an insight into a commercial law firm environment.
I benefitted greatly from this event as I was able to connect with people within the firm and ask questions. Everyone was friendly and passionate about their work which I found motivating. I was introduced to an office environment, which helped me decide if an office-based career was for me. The event also developed my knowledge of the different sectors within the law I could pursue and gave me an idea of what is expected in a legal career.
After the work inspiration day, I was encouraged to apply to the Pinsent Masons’ Work Experience Week in Belfast and was successfully selected for this programme. I shadowed solicitors working in the Projects and Litigation Departments which introduced me to a broad range of work Pinsent Masons do in sectors such as Construction and Energy which I had not considered before. I found this fascinating, and the week developed my commercial knowledge. As I had a positive experience with Pinsent Masons when I was in school, I applied for the Pinsent Masons Vacation placement in my second year of university which was an excellent opportunity to build my confidence and see if I would enjoy a career in commercial law. This experience affirmed that Pinsent Masons would be a good fit for me as I was impressed by the different networks within the firm and opportunities for personal growth.
I worked in the Employment Department during my vacation placement which I found stimulating and a rewarding experience as I was involved with interesting cases and felt part of the team. I drafted witness statements, made calls, and had the opportunity to practice drafting letters to send to clients. I met people from other offices and developed my knowledge of employment law by connecting with those within the department. During the week I also got involved with the diversity networks and was given an insight into the community work that the Belfast office is involved in, which impressed me.
I would describe the people as approachable and friendly, since starting my contract I have already built supportive working relationships in the firm. As a trainee, you do not know everything, so it is important to be able to connect with your team and the welcoming culture at Pinsent Masons is invaluable when starting your legal career.
Every day can be different depending on what is happening within your department. My current seat is in Property (Development and Investment) where there is a range of clients and work to be involved in. Generally, I spend my day assisting the team by reviewing contracts, drafting letters, making calls, making applications to the Land Registry, drafting title reports, and assisting with post-completion tasks. A typical day may also consist of meetings with any networks or teams I am part of, and we have plenty of fundraisers and fun events in the office.
There are great opportunities for trainees to get involved with early exposure to client work. I am part of an Atlas Client Relationship Team for one of our biggest clients which has helped me understand how to communicate effectively with clients and has helped me build relationships within the firm with colleagues in other offices. This role involves working as a team to complete manageable tasks for the Client such as managing any smaller knowledge-based requests. I have also had the chance to assist with large deals which has helped me gain some valuable experience of what clients expect and has improved my efficiency.
I hope to qualify into an area of commercial law and expand my personal network. I aim to take on more complex cases in the future and gain confidence. I see myself becoming a respected and valued member of a department through gaining more experience over time.
My advice to anyone applying for a training contract or starting their legal career would be to believe in yourself and have confidence! It can seem intimidating at first when starting a legal career, but it is important to trust the process and focus on your own personal goals. A general tip I would give is to reach out and connect with someone within a firm you are interested in, to ask for advice and hear about their career journey. Another tip is to do plenty of research to find what areas of law you are interested in and to see what firm aligns with your interests. Every firm is different, so it is important to apply to those you are genuinely interested in as your passion will show in your application and interview. Also, I would ask plenty of questions in interviews to find out what is expected of you when starting your legal career and to demonstrate enthusiasm.