Current and graduated Law and Practice LLB students speak to us about their experiences on their placement year.
As part of my role as a paralegal at Bross Bennett, I assisted on a wide range of matters across the family law spectrum and gained invaluable exposure to the following areas; divorce, finances and children, occupation/non-molestation applications, cohabitation, and pre-nuptial agreements.
I have enjoyed the close client contact that I have been exposed to and meeting new people from various backgrounds. One of the highlights of my time at Bross Bennett has been travelling to different courts in surrounding areas to attend hearings. For example, the Royal Courts of Justice and Oxford family court. My role when attending court was to take an attendance note of the hearing and to provide support to the client and barrister.
I also enjoyed being challenged and occasionally undertaking trainee level tasks such as drafting briefs to counsel, letters to the other side and to the court as well as consent orders and court applications. For example, out of time decree absolute applications and form A applications to begin financial remedy proceedings.
I would definitely recommend this to anyone who has an interest in family law. My placement was a fantastic experience and I learnt so much about the sector."
Abigail Wadlow, Law in Practice LLB
"My placement year at Mishcon has allowed me to experience the law in a practical environment, which is very useful having learnt the theoretical and academic content that university has to offer. It has provided me with the skills required to succeed in legal practice, from soft skills needed to navigate office life in a law firm to research, drafting, and much more. During my two seats, I was also able to experience two very distinct areas of the law which required different approaches to work and communication with clients and other lawyers, which has put me in good stead for the next step of my legal career. My placement has been characterised by a supportive and nurturing environment, and the firm's approach to training and learning has enabled me to gain a solid understanding of the areas of law I worked in. The firm also places a large emphasis on feedback and being able to track your progress, which is both useful and rewarding."
Samuel Applegate, LLB Law in Practice
During my “Law in Practice” degree 9-month placement at Reed Smith’s Energy and Natural Resources Group (“ENR”), I experienced a life of a trainee solicitor! Assisting with both contentious and non-contentious energy and commodity matters meant that I gained a comprehensive insight into the ENR sector, which was fascinating.
By way of example, I assisted a physical commodities team with complex commercial disputes before the English High Court, as well as supporting trade association arbitrations, including under the GAFTA and FOSFA rules. My non-contentious experiences involved assisting a regulatory and sanctions team with complex cross-border queries, and a transactional team with drafting and due diligence exercises.
It was also extremely interesting to work on various business development and innovation initiatives during my placement: I learnt how City law firms operate, win new business, maintain existing client relationships, as well as pre-empt and satisfy evolving clients’ needs.
Most importantly, not only did the placement year prepare me for the next stages of my career, but it also equipped me with invaluable technical and “soft skills”. How do you best work as part of a team, often across different offices and time-zones? How do you manage the needs of different external stakeholders when working on a project? When do you ‘tell’ and when do you ‘ask’? Reed Smith’s supportive culture, its emphasis on constructive feedback as I tried many tasks for the first time, gave me a sense that I was really growing developmentally in terms of my skills and knowledge – especially because the placement gives you the chance to apply all your learning immediately to live work projects: you embed the learning and habits. Overall, it was great to spend a year feeling that I was maximizing my potential, using my language skills and previous experiences, as well as setting – and reaching – stretching new personal development goals.
Eva Burkhart, Law in Practice LLB
"I was successful in being one of the first five students to attain a place on the Law in Practice Programme whereby I would spend 8 months in three different departments at Reed Smith. A top global law firm with 27 offices throughout the United States, Europe, the Middle East and Asia. The opportunity offered by Queen Mary is the first initiative at any Russell Group University to provide students the opportunity to complete a year in industry. Having completed internships at Linklaters, Freshfields, Slaughter and May, Freshfields and Herbert Smith Freehills, I felt that I had accumulated enough experience and was reluctant, at first, to do a year in industry. Now, three months into my placement at Reed Smith, I am genuinely overwhelmed and grateful to the Law department for the immense and hugely beneficial learning experience presented to me on a daily basis.
It has enabled me to put into practice the legal knowledge I accumulated over the first two years on the LLB. Examples of some of the work I am involved in is: assisting in drafting advice notes; researching legal developments; drafting articles for the Reed Smith Shipping team LinkedIn and Blog; drafting presentations for Partners to present at seminars; representing the firm at various events such as Law fairs; Pro Bono work and much more. The field of law is very competitive and after speaking with many lawyers and graduate recruitment teams at the different law firms, the Law in Practice programme definitely puts you in the driving seat and sets you apart from the huge number of graduates in pursuit of a training contract. The course is a game changer and will provide you with a strong foundation of legal and business skills necessary to learn, develop and thrive both as a student and future lawyer."
Saleh Zaheer, LLB Law in Practice