I always felt a little intimidated by law firms. The thought of being such a tiny fish in a gigantic lake and working alongside serious people in dusty suits, who expected you to work unwaveringly hard from dawn until dusk, terrified me. I had been led to believe that law firms are only for those who are thick skinned, and happy to work alone and anonymous in a towering corporate structure. Irwin Mitchell was therefore a bit of a revelation for me.
I first came across Irwin Mitchell when I was trying to create a list of firms to apply for a Legal Work Placement with. I was in my third year at this point, studying abroad in Vienna as part of my 4 year ‘Law with European Law’ degree, and I still had no clue about how I wanted my legal future to progress.
I decided to google "friendly law firms” because my strengths lie predominantly in getting on with people, being a good listener and being able to empathise with others; I have never had many hard edges. It was then that I first heard about Irwin Mitchell and their "expert hand with the human touch". I know it sounds cheesy but that was exactly what I was looking for; somewhere where both employees and clients were valued and seen as living breathing human beings.
I was fortunate enough to secure a place on the Legal Work Placement. Whilst at the assessment day, what really struck me was that the "interview" with one of the partners in the firm was essentially just a friendly chat. He was interested in getting to know me and in seeing whether I, as a person, would be a good fit for the firm. All concepts of rank and authority went out of the window and it was the most relaxing interview I have had to this day.
I loved my Legal Work Placement at the Birmingham office and got on well with my supervisors and all the other employees who were looking after me throughout those two weeks. My training contract interview however felt like an absolute train wreck so I was convinced that I had failed miserably, which was a big blow after such a great two weeks. To my surprise though, I got a phone call offering me the contract. This just reinforced to me that, yes the interview was not as great as I hoped it might have been, but this was not the be-all and end-all and other things were taken into account too. My relationships with others in the firm, the quality of my work and how easily I had fit in during those two weeks had also been taken into account and it reaffirmed that this was the place for me.
I have now started my training contract and am currently in my first seat in the International Personal Injury department. I spent some time here during my Legal Work Placement and loved it so I was over the moon when I found out that I would be coming back. It is going great and I could not have asked to be in a better team. Everyone is so helpful, down to earth and genuine that I feel so settled already. I am being given a lot of responsibility which would usually have been a terrifying prospect for me before, but the support that I have from the team means I know I will always have someone there to help, so I am not at all afraid to take a challenge head on anymore!
If you are like me and you want to be valued for the things that make you, you; if you want an excellent work/ life balance and an unbelievably supportive and social team to surround you, Irwin Mitchell is definitely the firm for you!