It was an excellent experience that I will value forever as it provided me with an insight into the inner workings of a law firm on what the daily life and work of a solicitor involves.
Whilst sat at my desk I would be approached from trainees, associates and partners as they were genuinely interested in me and where I had come from and my experience. I would happily work with every single one of them in the future.
In three out of my four seats during the week I had excellent guidance as the trainees and other employees in the firm were all willing to lend a helping hand. The only exception was in RDU where I was sat on my own and struggled to find someone to talk to as I felt as though I was excluded. But this did not take away from the quality of the work that I had been provided with.
The main skills that I developed over the work were interpersonal and communicational skills. I spoke to more people during the week in that short space of time than I ever have. Additionally we had to arrange a group task in a very short amount of time which tested our team working skills and organisation. I will be able to translate what I have learnt into my seminar and group work at University but also into later life when I graduate and I am tasked with a pitch or presentation, I will be able to draw on what I have learnt.
Logistically the week was very well structured in order to give us the best insight into life at Gateley possible. However, I did find that it was very intense with talks during lunch as well as it felt like we did not receive any respite from our day. Besides this, the week was very well structured and I valued the socials provided for us in the evening as well, giving us a different taste of life at Gateley.
The atmosphere was very sociable as the team at Gateley really made an effort to get to know us all and our interests. I admired the way the office would shift from a social environment into a focussed and determined environment to ensure that work was completed. Overall, everyone was very positive and keen to help.
They clearly spent a large amount of time organising the intensive week to ensure that the days played out efficiently with us sitting in different seats everyday and arranging socials, and lunches on top of this.
There is only so much that we can see within one day in each seat but the trainees provided us with excellent tasks, whilst on top of this, we completed other tasks for current cases as asked to by the Partners or Associates. I am sure there is far more to working at Gateley than what I have seen throughout the week, but the insight that I got was invaluable and if all it did was lay the groundwork for what life at Gateley is like then I can definitely see myself as part of the team.
The presentations we were given right at the very beginning gave us an overview of what working at Gateley is like and the values the company has regarding investment and entrepreneurship. This shone through in a number of conversations I had with Partners and Associates about the next steps for the company and also the share investment scheme. I feel I understand the aim of the Company to nurture growth and invest in its success.
It was my first experience of a vacation scheme so I was wary as to what it would consist of, and it would be my first proper taste in the working environment as a solicitor. It has definitely confirmed my desire to become a legal practitioner and to pursue a charitable aspect to my work. My mentor for the week was heavily involved in CSR and I would like to be a part of this team in the future.
I was paid for the week. There was also the option to be reimbursed expenses for the first day as we travelled to Birmingham, but having already been in the surrounding area the night before, I did not claim my expenses.
We were given every opportunity to meet people we could ask for. During working hours everyone in the office was available to have a chat and to ask questions. Additional to this, we were provided with two social events, the first to get to know our mentors and trainees, the second was open to the entire Leeds office. Both provided us with opportunities to get to know who we were working with and potential future colleagues.
As stated above, there were a number of opportunities which was excellent. The social on Tuesday found us playing shuffleboard which was excellent stress reliever from an intense first day in the Leeds office, and allowed us all to bond as a group and with out mentors. The second event was more laidback but allowed us to talk to more people including partners and associates at the firm.
I found that Gateley is heavily invested in CSR and the work they do with charities. There are always opportunities to raise money and get involved in a charitable event. We were also told of Football and Netball clubs in the Leeds office that are open to everyone if they wish to join. On top of this there is always a group of employees going out for a drink on an evening which is often open to anyone. There are always events and social gatherings happening to help distract people from their busy days.
I would definitely recommend this insight to a friend. At the roots of it, it provided an excellent insight into the life as a solicitor and the kind of work that one would have to do. On top of this, it painted an excellent picture of Gateley and the culture of the firm.