My week of work experience at FJG Colchester
14 December 2021 by Guest Author
Whilst I was completing my degree, I had always assumed that I would get to the end and provided I had achieved a good grade, that I would feel like I knew a lot about the law…why wouldn’t I after all the assignments and exams I sat throughout the years, as well as the mountains of coursework and reading! So, when I came to graduate, and I didn’t feel like a legal encyclopedia on legs I worried if it was because I was a ‘mature student’ and I hadn’t retained all the knowledge I had gained.
So then came along this amazing opportunity at FJG to spend a week in different departments to see the reality of the career I was pursuing. When Susan Barker offered me the placement, I was a complete mix of emotions, proud that I had been selected for this opportunity as I was far from the only applicant and frankly very anxious and nervous that my own lack of confidence would show through. In reality, this was far from the case.
Day One – Introduction and the Private Client Department
I was greeted when I arrived at the office by Susan and given an introduction about the company and an overview of my week ahead before being taken downstairs and introduced to Susanne Grimwade the head of Private Client and was invited to sit in on some client interviews. I jumped at the chance and instantly felt comfortable asking Susanne any questions that I felt unsure of and not once was I made to feel an inconvenience or like I was expected to know more than I did. The day flew by and I was invited to participate in different tasks that really built my understanding of the workings of this area of law. Later on, I was able to sit in some interviews with James Bird, a Solicitor in the department and after we spoke about his experiences of qualifying as a solicitor which helped me see the reality of the profession in contrast to the perceived image of what is expected as a trainee.
Day Two – Family Department
I started the day having a meeting with the head of the department Simon Osborn and Solicitor Aimee Edwards and they gave me an overview of the work conducted in the department and a scenario that I was going to be working from that day. My experience here was very immersive, I was not given little tasks throughout the day, I was given a sample financial case and had to draft a consent order. This was something I had never seen before, let alone dealt with but I was encouraged to try my best and if I got stuck, I could ask either Aimee or Simon for assistance. I felt like I wanted to try by myself and if I got to the end and got the whole thing wrong then at least I know it’s a true reflection of how I found it and not assisted. Well, I got to the end and reviewed the work with Aimee and was stunned that I only made a couple of mistakes!
Day Three – Commercial Department
This was the day I was most anxious about as having started my LPC/LLM, I was more than aware that business law was not my strength! I was introduced to Ashton Carter, the Partner in the department and made him aware of my concerns and he was very reassuring. He gave me an extensive task that involved a share sale and purchase scenario and I had to draft a share purchase agreement and ancillary documents. Again, this was something I had not encountered before, and I wanted to see what I could do alone. By the end of the day, I had completed the task and sent it to Ashton to review. The next day when I opened my emails, I was very encouraged to see great feedback and my confidence had grown!
Day Four – Commercial Property
This was a day that I was very much looking forward to as it involved contracts which I thoroughly enjoyed during my degree. I met with Ellen Petersen, the Partner in the commercial property department and was given an overview of the work I would be doing that day which was considering a Heads of Terms and drafting a lease. I thought that sounded great, considering it was a contract, until I opened it and found it was a 60-page contract! I was introduced to Emily Wickington, a Paralegal in the team and she talked me through the lease and reassured me that the first time she had done one it had taken her a long time too which made me smile and appreciate I wasn’t expected to get it done quickly, it was more about giving me a taste of the work they do.
Day Five – Personal Development Day
This was a great day, it started by speaking to Tony Fisher the CEO about my experience that week and he told me more about the firm. I then met with Anthony Edwards the HR Manager who reviewed my CV and gave me different tips to help it stand out, this was then followed by a mock interview with Anthony and Andrew Morgan the Head of Training and Risk Management, that I didn’t think I would be so nervous about, until it began! I got great personalised feedback from them both that I feel confident will help me to succeed and they allayed my concerns about how I presented being a mature student. My final day then finished with Andrew going through blog training with me and the benefits that come from blogging for the firm.
By the end of my week at FJG I felt like I had gained so much confidence and saw that my age is an asset, not a disadvantage and I look forward to pursuing a career as a trainee solicitor as soon as I have finished my LPC/LLM.
Lastly, I would like to say a huge thank you to everyone that I was lucky enough to work with during the week, the environment in the office is extremely warm and welcoming and everybody really was there to offer support and the experience was like no other!
James Bird has been recognised with a national accredited award for expertise in supporting older and vulnerable pe… https://t.co/dcf6iyCAlc4 hours
RT @lawclinicsarah: Many thanks to Julia Brewer of @FJGSolicitors for advising in @AngliaLawSchool Virtual Family Law Clinic this morning.…6 hours