In June, I started my placement at Burley Law. It is now almost three months into my role, and I am currently reflecting on what I have learnt. This blog will reflect on my experience and why I believe a placement is extremely beneficial, which I hope will be of use to those who are still deciding on whether to undertake a year in industry.
Prior to commencing my placement at Burley Law, the experience I carried included working in retail, virtual programmes and insight days but I had never actually stepped foot into a law firm.
During My First Two Months at The Firm
To say that I was nervous was an understatement. Since I did not have any actual in person legal experience, I was anxious that I would not be able to keep up with the inner workings of a law firm. Looking back now, I realise that my worries were just worries, and by the end of the first month, I was feeling much more confident and adjusted to my new role than I had been feeling at the start.
Learning all the processes and features which run a law firm seemed daunting at first, but having that hands-on experience really made a difference, and I got to grips with it quickly. Even more so, I had such a supportive and kind team alongside me who made sure I was supported every step of the way, and their patience with me whilst I was still adjusting to my role gave me the confidence to ask for help when I was unsure of something.
This was only possible because of Des and Liz, who are great mentors and team leaders. They made the transition into my role smooth and easy, which made the whole process much more enjoyable. They both have made a big impact on my professional and personal development by allowing me to have a great deal of involvement in the running of the firm, whilst still being on hand to support and guide me.
At present, I now have experience with a variety of different tasks; from drafting an NDA, to attending client meetings, and even reviewing tribunal documents. Had I been given tasks like this to do in the beginning, I would have not known where to start. Now, with a combination of initiative and support from Des, Liz and the team, I can get these tasks done with diligence and a bit of confidence.
Why I Think a Placement Is Extremely Beneficial
If you are in that period of decision-making and thinking about whether you want to do a placement, keep reading to hear why I believe a placement is a great thing to do.
Firstly, it is a great way to gain transferable skills. If you are an aspiring solicitor or barrister, undertaking a placement at a law firm will allow you to gain technical legal skills needed to excel as a practising solicitor or barrister, such as doing research, drafting, meeting with clients and reviewing documents.
Secondly, a placement year in industry is valuable to you as a student before you jump into the world of work. Whilst you are a student, you do not really have the opportunity to understand how the world of work looks, since you are focused on your responsibilities as a student. A year in industry gives you a good glimpse of how a career in the industry you wish to pursue looks like.
Thirdly, it’s all about the networking! A placement is a beneficial time for you as a student, as you get to broaden your networking pool from beyond your university connections. Working at Burley Law has given me the opportunity to meet lots of new people from other businesses (some of them through the firm’s network of clients, some through its broader network) and listen to their experiences, which is a unique opportunity that I am grateful to have experienced.