Before embarking upon my final year as an English Literature Undergraduate, this Summer I took part in vacation placement schemes with professional services firms to help me decide what to do after graduation. A career in law particularly interests me- my degree focuses mainly on analysis, debate and critical theorising of published works and I think the analytical and drafting skills I have developed will transfer well. I wanted some legal work experience to determine whether my idea of what lawyers do all day is true in practice and to decide which type of legal practice best suits me.
I sought a work placement with Geldards LLP, one of the major commercial firms in Cardiff and the Midlands. As a full-service law firm offering services to both commercial and private clients, the range of work exposure offered by firm appealed to me. I approached the firm’s HR department and was fortunate enough to be offered a week’s work placement.
What did you do while there?
During the week I spent a day with the Clinical Negligence, Defendant Personal Injury, Commercial Litigation, Commercial Property and Employment departments. Here I witnessed Geldards’ core values of being an ‘open and friendly’ firm in action. On arrival at each department, I was introduced to everyone from the Partner down and was made to feel welcome and at ease.
How did you find the placement?
The work placement was well structured and well organised. In each department I was given a written exercise relevant to the respective work type. I was asked to consider a claim for mesothelioma, an intellectual property dispute, a commercial lease and an employment dispute. I had worried that my lack of legal knowledge would be a hinderance on the work placement, but this was not the case. The exercises concentrated on drafting basic documents, understanding and interpreting the core material provided and research. I was always provided with feedback on my work and given the opportunity to ask questions about the practice area. I also sat in on client meetings and telephone conferences and found it exciting to be in an environment advising household name clients.
Geldards has strong female role models. Three of the five departments I visited have female heads of department and it was inspiring and motivating to spend time with professional women with so much experience in their specialised field.
In addition to the legal exercises, time was made for me to ask trainees solicitors and paralegals about their route into the law and to Geldards, which I found really helpful. Not all of them had followed the traditional route of a law degree and the PSL and the alternative tracks to qualification were interesting. It was also reassuring to hear about the training and support they had received on joining the firm and the character and personality of the firm really appealed to me.
In short, I found the whole experience very worthwhile and would recommend anyone considering a legal career to undertake a work placement at Geldards.
If you’d like the opportunity to join us we’re currently fully booked for this year but please keep an eye on our social media platforms to find out about how to apply for 2020!