I won’t be particularly observant if I say that sedentary lifestyle involves a lot of sitting. It was, therefore, amazing news to hear that Pinsent Masons’ socials scene involves a plethora of sports events over the summer. The beautiful, sunny Edinburgh weather that happened to underpin the three weeks of my placement, and the caffeine running through my veins – courtesy of the Firm’s awesome coffee machine – have made it almost irresistible to join the team. The only thing that could possibly stop my secondary career as a professional athlete was my complete lack of skills in the team games popular in Scotland. “Hey, I’m here to learn” – I thought –”who said it was only about law?”. And this is where my journey started.
Touch Rugby was extremely fun. It would have been even better had I not forgotten my trainers. Lesson one – always check your bag before you leave for work, one day I could be client files! Nonetheless, I still contributed to the team as a cheerleader and we (almost) won. Trainees, NQs, Senior Associates – on the field, everyone was equal and had an unmeasurable amount of fun. Fortunately, I didn’t need my trainers to join the staple post-game drinks. It reinforced my opinion on how unique Pinsent’s culture is – while exceptionally professional and accomplished work-wise, everyone is extremely easy-going and enjoys having a good laugh. It was only my third day in the Firm and I already felt like a part of it.
I was told that we’re playing hockey the day after. My response, involving not having a pair of ice skates, accurately demonstrates my then-knowledge of that sport. It did not, however, stop me from going to the pitch after work wielding a stick (and trying to figure out how to hold it). Luckily, I started as a sub, so Rebecca could give me a briefing on the rules and helped me practice hitting the ball. Before my placement, I had expected many things – but playing hockey was definitely not one of them. And when I first joined the game… I really enjoyed it! Yes, I was terrible, but everyone always tried to help me and included me in the game. I wasn’t just standing there; I was actively taking part in the match, and at one point I was millimetres away from scoring a goal! Although we came off second best on that day, the team made me feel like a winner.
A week after my first hockey game, the child’s play ended. Twenty two players, large pitch, playing against a friendly law firm. The Princess Exchange derby, I couldn’t have possibly missed it! We had lots of people, we had the game plan, the subs, the attitude. It was hard, we were losing at first. Nonetheless, everyone showed resilience and cooperation. Lots of swapping, dribbling, passing, and minutes after the half we were already ahead. We kept it up and we won 7:5. It was absolutely amazing!
Of course, there was no pressure and I described it as a real deal only jokingly. Although we won the game, it was not the score that made me feel victorious. It was the setting. I was outside on a beautiful day, participating in new and fun activities with colleagues from work. Meeting new people, sharing experiences, making memories together. This is one of the things that made my vacation placement so special – that it was not limited to the 9-5, not restricted to the office. There were lunches, pub quizzes, barbecues, socials, sports, yoga.
This made me understand why everyone is always so happy at work. Those three weeks reached far beyond just work and while I could write a book about my wonderful experiences from the office itself, it was the whole picture that made that time something that I will remember for life.
Just as the second lockdown struck, so approached application deadlines for vacation placements. So, here’s an overview of how I got to know Pinsent Masons virtually.
Read about Taylor's experience of our Virtual Vacation Scheme
Anne Sammon is an Employment & Reward Partner in London. Anne has significant experience in tribunal and high-court litigation in areas including discrimination, unfair dismissal and whistleblowing.