Work experience - A day in the life of a Law student.
Posted on 13 November 2017
My week began by me nervously waiting in the car park outside Pardoes’ Bridgwater office at approx. 08:25 ready to swan in as soon as I saw a formally-dressed person… but of course when you’re anxiously waiting for something time goes by extremely slowly and you never actually get what you wait for. It came to about 08:40 and still no lawyer-passer-by’s… so I manned up and went through the doors ready for the week ahead. It actually turns out they have a back door (doh!)
It must be noted, before I continue, that lawyers are not all that scary and most are very easy to talk to… emphasis on the word “most”.
Anyway, I got a little induction from Lorraine Chrystall and was introduced to everyone. I noticed, instantly, that this is the type of firm where everyone knows everyone. That is the beauty of Pardoes. There is no strict separation of departments; it’s a firm that is reliant on department-cooperation between offices. In my eyes, that is the perfect firm.
I sat with the Commercial Property department throughout the whole of Monday. James Cleveland comes across as extremely passionate about Commercial Property and also a really nice guy. I sat in on a client meeting with him and just lay back (sat forward and made notes) and let the master do his business. Giving good client service is almost now a pre-requisite requirement in becoming a lawyer; learning from James deal with his clients in a professional-manner with a touch of humour was delightful and inspiring. I then spent the rest of the day researching some contracts for sale of land and subsequently condition and option estate contracts.
Tuesday and Wednesday were two fun days with two members of the Criminal team, Kieran Hughes and Gareth Needs, at Taunton Magistrates’ court. There is nothing more inspiring than seeing two brilliant and experienced advocates in their prime. I learnt from both of them that if you are passionate about something, just go and do what you love and not worry about the money side of things. We’ve all heard about the cuts to Legal Aid, but I did not realise/anticipate the extent of its effect on lawyers; especially in the Criminal and Family field. So, bravo to you two (Kieran and Gareth). It was interesting to see the procedure and courtroom etiquette in action of both the Magistrates’ and the Crown court. Just don’t forget to stand when you hear the court clerk shout “all rise”.
Thursday was a day sat at what I call the backbone of a law firm… the reception desk. Never believe somebody who says that a law firm is all about the lawyers. The truth is: it is definitely not. Without these roles there would be no organised and connected law firms. I like to think that the reception is the glue that sticks a law firm together: perhaps even the catalyst. After all, who’s the first face that a client sees? Pardoes have two competent receptionists at the Taunton office, Laura and Sam, and observing them has shown me that it is a hard job involving several different and developed skills, e.g. client service, communication skills, organisation skills and multitasking. I also met Nigel Muers-Raby, the man who granted me this week of work experience (thank you!). Head of Marketing and a visionary who is in touch with the generation of today and taught me that law firms, as businesses, need to be resilient and adapt to the changing times. This is a man who you want as your marketing director. The second-half of Thursday was spent with Laura Godfrey in Residential Property. I had an extremely enticing chat about my future and her history within the law. Her praise for Pardoes was undoubtedly strong and it would seem a career at Pardoes would be a deeply fulfilling one. I spent the afternoon looking through contracts for sale of land, purchase of land and new build. It was interesting to point out the legal terminology contained within these contracts and I was able to understand terms using my knowledge, albeit little, of Property law.
Friday, I spend some of the day with Jonathan Rich in the Personal Injury department. Conversing with Jonathan opened my eyes to the real-world of P.I cases. I learnt that it is often difficult linking the so-called “chain of causation” in relation to an accident and an injury. Tort law has always interested me and seeing it in action was ever-more inspiring. The second-half of the day was spent with Alex Molyneux in the Marketing department writing this blog post and learning about how this firm markets itself and how it operate in its use of social media. I’ve learnt that it is not just on the marketing team’s conscience to market this firm; each and every department helps the marketing team.
Overall, in this week of work experience (which I will be forever grateful for) I’ve learnt that Pardoes is a law firm that will continue to be resilient and adapt to social and technological changes. It is a firm that, in my eyes, has a strong team of lawyers that will cooperate together to tailor their advice to their clients’ needs. The skills needed for a lawyer have greatly expanded in the last 20 years and future lawyers need to boast lots of skills proving that they are a well-rounded and competent individual.
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