Wednesday, 29 July 2015

Guest post: My work experience at B P Collins

Alice Russell has just finished her second year reading law at the University of Durham. She spent a week sitting with the firm’s family group.

Every budding lawyer will be familiar with having to complete application after application, writing cover letter after cover letter in the hope of attaining that highly coveted training contract. I myself am at that ‘exciting’ stage. Thankfully, I have had a week of work experience with the family group at B P Collins to break up the monotony.
"To say the experience has been an unexpectedly brilliant one would be an understatement."
At previous placements, I found myself stuck in a corner reading through files and frequently the only answer I got to my questions was "yes, I do take milk", so I expected much the same from this week. It is true that I have done my fair share of filing and photocopying, but this was only a portion of what I got to experience. I was told as soon as I arrived that I would not be doing any task that a trainee would not be given which, I admit, did terrify me somewhat.

I soon found myself attending client meetings, typing up attendance notes, extracting information from particular files to make chronologies and attempting to dig up old deeds (and failing). 

On one occasion I was even lucky enough to go to court. Although the experience was not as glamorous as Harvey Spector and Alicia Florrick make it out to be (no gun fights or shouting – at least not at the hearing I attended!), the experience was still a real insight into how our legal system works and I took the down-time in between the hearing to grill a trainee on her time at B P Collins.
"It quickly became apparent to me that work within the family group is exceptionally varied." 
One aspect of the experience that I found surprising was the amount of investigative work that is involved. I was asked to pour over bank statements to look for irregularities and to figure out which documents the opposing party might be unwilling to divulge. For one of my last tasks, I was asked to piece together a map for a particular area of land, on the hunch of a solicitor that someone was not being entirely truthful with regards to its ownership.  

The only down side to my week was the fact that it has gone too quickly! B P Collins has surpassed all my expectations. 
"You can guarantee that the firm will be receiving my application for a training contract shortly."