In March 2014 I was offered work experience in Elham Valley, Canterbury. This corresponded to a two week work placement at Employment Relations, a law firm that primarily deals with employment law, human resources and the relationship between employees and employers. I maintained really good relations with the firm and was able to benefit from this when they were later acquired by Manak Solicitors LLP.
Advice: Don’t ever underestimate the potential of a law firm. All you need to do is maintain good relationships with everyone, make the effort to contact them once in a while…and be reassured that they will contact you again in the future!
Advice: Know what’s important to you!
For me there is something magical about being able to do what I like the most and have sacrified so much for, while being able to watch the sunset and have so much sun come through my office windows.
I want to work in an environment where I can demonstrate my potential, while maintaing a good work and lfe balance.
A work placement in a local/regional law firm may seem less demanding than a work placement in a City law firm. Also, transportation costs often discourage students from getting involved with similar experience as they are often fail to value the importance of work experience, whether in a regional, national or international law firm. However, it is a great opportunity to work in an environment where you can actually take on responsibilities and learn a lot of skills. The University of Kent Work Experience Bursary is a unique opportunity and helps boost your CV with valuable experience, without having to bear all the related costs.
Advice: Before turning down an opportunity, seek help, research your funding options and you might be even surprised at how much help there is out there!
During my placement, duties consisted of assisting staff in managing all aspects of the client relationship from instruction to file closure. I was asked to provide support in all areas of the business to include client communication, client and office administration, marketing, resource management research and training. I was also responsible for maintaining and developing client relationships by contact with clients to include telephone, fax, written and electronic correspondence using the Iris case and client management software system. I learnt a lot by transcribing dictations, preparing tribunal and disclosure bundles and follow up with new and existing clients. ..And lots and lots and lots more!
Advice: A big name may be better on your CV but employers are also aware of the significant amounts of responsibility that you may be given in a smaller environment! Also, getting to the top requires you to start somewhere, step by step, then to have the requirements to then apply for bigger firms!
Lastly, but most importantly, ALWAYS remember to say THANK YOU! A simple thank you can make a big difference. Even after a one-week experience, writing a thank you letter and buying a box of chocolates can make people remember you. I think this contributed a lot to me being invited to do some extra shifts at the firm. I hope I will be able to prove my desire to pursue a law career and hopefully establish relationships that would be beneficial when I am looking for a training contract.
Thank you Manak. Thank you BKEW.
– Augusta Itua is studying an MA in International Conflict Analysis at the University of Kent.