My week with Shoosmiths was extremely enjoyable. It provided me with invaluable practical experience, challenged me to apply my legal and commercial knowledge and was very interesting throughout,
The main reason I wanted to apply to Shoosmiths was because of the firm's values which clearly prioritise a collaborative and professional working environement in which all clients and employees feel appreciated, Without hesitation, I can say that these values are fully extended to those on placement. To say everyone at the firm was welcoming would be an understatement. Many trainees and newly qualified solicitors went out of their way to answer my questions and to provide useful advice on my career ambitions. Many took the time to find work I could assist with that focussed on areas of law in which they knew I was interested.
Moreover, a partner in the Real Estate department was extremely selfless in offering guidance on how to benefit most from the week and and she helped me to structure my planned activities in a way that best served the areas of my experience which I needed to develop.
I can also assure all those reading that the exit interview at the end of the week is a friendly and pleasurable experience. Everyone at Shoosmiths clearly wants to get to know the real you.
Of course, people at the firm will be busy with their own work responsibilities whenever you are on placement. However, the vast majority of work I completed was met with thorough and constructive feedback. Many in the Real Estate department also took the time to run through work with me in person, rather than by email, so that I got the full benefit of their insight and experience.
It speaks volumes that such assistance is given to placement students who may only be with the firm for a week.
I was rightly expected to complete work independently before such feedback was offered, allowing me to learn through personal experience. However, there was always someone available to give advice
I have now reached the end of my legal studies. However, the guidance and support I referenced above certainly helped me develop the most important attributes needed to be a a trainee solicitor.
To give one example, I was given the opportunity to complete several reports to clients whilst at the firm. My first attempt was broadly along the right lines but I was advised how to phrase such a document in a manner more suited to clients. After several years in legal education, it can be difficult to remember that the language you have become accustomed to using is, understandably, not always appropriate for those who have not studied law. By the end of the week, I think the reports I was drafting were far more succinct and appropriate.
The ability to focus work on the needs and the understanding of clients is something I certainly refined with the help of those at Shoosmiths
I very much appreciated that the week was designed to give an insight into all areas of the firm and to develop all the attributes required to be a succesful trainee solicitor.
There was ample opportunity to carry out work towards client case files while separate assignments focussed upon commercial awareness and the values of the firm.
Between the wok provided in the office and the ongoing projects throughtout the week, I was never left without something to keep me occupied and interested.
Everything I have described should demonstrate how supportive, constructive and friendly the atmosphere was at Shoomsiths. There was an overwhelming sense of this upon entering the office every day and it is what I will remember most from my time on placement.
In providing access to real client work and giving plenty of support and feedback, it is clear that Shoosmiths takes such placements seriously. I feel they made a real investment in during the week and I am very grateful for that.
As I have described, the structure of the week afforded an insight into all aspects of working life at the firm.
The culture and values of Shoosmiths permeate everything that the firm does and this was made clear by my personal interactions with people and my attending training sessions and team briefings.
If you want to understand the culture of Shoosmiths, you will know it by the end of your first day on placement.
I was committed to being a solicitor before attending my Shoosmiths placement but the week certainly gave me an insight into the areas of law in which I would like to specialise and, of course, the firm's expertise in those areas.
I was paid for the week and was offered to have any travel expenses incurred on behalf of the firm reimbursed.
The opportunity for meeting other employees was constant. Shoosmiths use open plan offices which means that everyone, regardless of department or level of seniority, is always approachable. Everyone was is also extremely friendly and welcoming so long as you use your common sense in when to start a conversation.
I was kindly taken to lunch by the trainees and solicitors at the firm on the Friday but I also tended to eat with them throughout the week. This was a great opportunity to ask questions, receive valuable advice and, mostly, understand their perspective of life at the firm and as a trainee solicitor.
I was also invited to drinks on the Friday with people from all departments in the office. This was a lovely end to the week and allowed me to talk to people in a more relaxed environment.
I was given lots of information about the health and wellbeing programme in which trainees were involved as well as the opportunities for all members of the firm to participate in corporate responsibility initiatives such as charitable volunteering.
In a team briefing I was also told about the charity cricket match and dinner which had just occurred.
I would recommend a placement with Shoosmiths to anyone who is an aspiring solicitor and even more so to anyone who is interested in training with the firm. In short, if you are willing to work and learn from the experience, you will emerge as a stronger candidate.
I can honestly say that, whether I receive a training contract offer from Shoosmiths or not, I will remain extremely grateful for my time on placement with firm and I will look back on it fondly.