Why work experience is worth it

Rachel Pang is a law student at the University of Exeter who secured work experience for her first year summer holidays.

After emailing and calling what felt like every medium-sized law firm in London for work experience, Clintons, who specialise in media litigation, kindly replied.

I had no idea what to expect during this week. I did not have a clue about media law and the kind of work involved but it sounded exciting and different. It was a pleasant surprise to find three other interns sitting in the reception area too, waiting to start their week here.

After being welcomed by a trainee solicitor and a partner of the firm, we were sent to our various departments.

On the first day I was situated in the property department. After reading the correspondences of a case to grasp the legal issues involved in property law, I then proceeded to look through a contract on the leasing of property and went through this with a partner.

The second day began with me in the music department, the third day in commercial and the final day in litigation. The jobs roles given to me on these days were fairly similar: looking through contracts and summarising them.

This was work that the trainee solicitors were responsible for. It therefore felt like a very realistic account of the work I would be doing in a few years’ time and undoubtedly an extremely useful experience. I was extremely excited when I saw contracts being drafted for some of my favourite artists – Duke Dumont, Disclosure and The Cure. Media law can befun.

However, the highlight of my week was working in the family department. I was lucky enough to accompany a partner to attend a meeting with a barrister at the Inns of Court to finalise a case involving a mediation for divorce. I know this sounds very clichéd, but it was honestly inspirational.

What grabbed my attention the most was when the client was adamant on using a particular strategy to secure her property. However, the partner I was working with said, “I have been working as a solicitor for 25 years, I know what I am doing, trust me, you do not want to go down this route.”

That immediately silenced her and in turn made me want to become a solicitor even more. I loved her passion for the law and was fascinated by their discussion of strategies to help the client achieve her desired goal. The meeting was extraordinary.

Although applying to work experience in your first year as a law student, or any student for that matter, may seem daunting and difficult, I strongly encourage you to. The week I had only deepened my interest in having a legal career and I have gained tremendous amounts of experience.

If you are lucky enough to be offered work experience, do not be afraid to ask questions, be positive, remain upbeat and be open-minded to any jobs the firm give you. Not all of them may be as interesting, but you may be lucky enough to come across a gem such as a meeting between a feisty partner, a barrister and a client.