It is easy to think that as a trainee starting off in the ‘corporate world’ it will be all work however it is fair to say that having only started my training contract six months ago, I have already had a number of different opportunities outside of regular work.
During my vacation scheme with the firm I was invited to play a netball match in the Birmingham Trainee Solicitor Society (BTSS) league with the Netball Team against a local law firm. This was a great opportunity to meet other members of the firm and is something which I have continued to be involved in whilst studying the Legal Practice Course and during my training contract so far.
As a trainee at Pinsent Masons the firm funds our membership in the BTSS. This membership enables us to get involved in various social events, including sports’ leagues, bar crawls, wine tasting and much more. But the most talked about event of the year, has to be the BTSS ball, which is a great opportunity to let your hair down. This is an annual event often held at the Town Hall which trainees from all different firms in the City. With a photo booth, bottle of Jägermeister and an after party at BeAtOne, stories definitely follow on Monday morning.
BTSS also run an Inter-Firm Trophy, which is a sports tournament involving rounders, Dodgeball, Football, Netball, Tag Rugby and Bowling. This involves mixed teams, competing in various sports’ competitions throughout the year.
To celebrate Christmas, the Birmingham office has an annual party, held at a local hotel. Many would think this is an opportunity to get suited and booted, but this isn’t your usually office party. With each department picking a theme, we all go in fancy dress, with the trainees often being tasked with creating the costumes. This is something that becomes some what of a competitive scenario between departments with a winning team being announced on the evening.
As well as these social events I have also had the opportunity to get involved with the firm’s charitable initiative Starfish. This has included volunteering at a local primary school on a regular basis as part of a ‘Right to Read Scheme’. As part of this scheme members of Pinsent Masons read to 4 children aged 7-8 twice a week.
The Firm also has a partnership with a local senior school where we assist on various activities to help the children’s’ development. One of the many activities includes holding mock interviews for year 11 students to improve their employability. It is quite the experience to be on the interviewer’s side for once! This has also helped me to reflect on my own interview skills as I have gotten to know what works well in an interview and where more explanation is needed.
Another way in which as trainees we get to give back is via the Access to Practice Mentor Scheme at BPP. As part of this scheme, I volunteer to be a mentor to LPC, GDL and LLB students, offering application advice, sharing practical experiences and helping to prepare the students for practice. Having experienced being a mentee myself prior to starting my training contract, it has been a really great opportunity to share my experiences and help others who are also considering joining the legal profession.
I look forward to seeing what future opportunities the rest of my training contract holds.
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.