To improve my CV and to learn more about the legal industry I embarked on three work experience placements this summer. Two were specific to law at Ward Hadaway and Crombie Wilkinson and one was at Macmillan Cancer Support in the Human Resources department.
I gained the Ward Hadaway experience through a mentoring scheme which the University advertised. The scheme gave me the opportunity to see the firm and to ask any potential questions I may have. This then led to me securing a work experience placement at the firm. During the placement, I got to sit in five different departments including: Property, Employment, Healthcare, Property Litigation and Commercial. I experienced life as a trainee solicitor as I was asked to complete the same work as a trainee would do. this was a great insight and further fuelled my ambition to pursue a career in commercial law. This included attending a client meeting, conducting research and completing documents such as a lease report. This experience allowed me to apply what I had learnt in my first year to real life practical examples.
Despite there being limited opportunities for experience for first years I found that approaching people on a personal level can help to secure work experience. This is how I acquired my second legal experience placement by speaking to a local firm in York called Crombie Wilkinson at a mini law fair hosted by the Law Society. This experience exposed me to different areas of Law including family and private client. The type of work included drafting wills, preparing a divorce petition and looking at domestic violence cases. This experience allowed me to see how a smaller law firm operates and although I enjoyed the experience confirmed to me that I would prefer to work in a larger commercial law firm.
My motivation for obtaining human resources experience manifested from my exposure to employment law. I thought that in gaining this experience I could see the type of work from a different perspective. I saw the inter-relationship through exploring redundancies and the legal implications they brought. I also helped to produce a settlement agreement, considering what terms were required. I also experienced how a large charity organisation operates from the varying levels including the senior leadership team. I was involved in strategy meetings and how best to implement the strategy in a period of change. Overall this was a very useful experience in developing my knowledge of a different business area which was still relevant to the legal sphere.
Overall, although all three experiences were different they all provided me with insight into the business world and helped me consider future opportunities. Work experience is a great way to explore the opportunities available to us upon finishing our degrees and one which I would definitely recommend you seek wherever and whenever possible.