I got the job at Freeths after applying to the Legal Assistant Foundation Programme. Freeths caught my eye having received a lot of plaudits for this programme, and for being a top firm to work for in general from institutions such as The Times. It also meant starting with a six-month contract, which worked well for me as it gave me the opportunity to see if this is what I really wanted, as it’s all well and good saying you want to be a lawyer but you don’t really know what the reality of it will be like until you actually live that life. The scheme is also very clear and well set-out, so you know where you stand with regard to your future and training contract and at what point these decisions will be made, which gives you a feeling of security. Support from HR and others is also very, very good.
It has been a bit challenging for me; as you may have noticed from the above profile I don’t actually have a law degree yet. I started studying part-time for my GDL in September 2018 (it’s worth noting that Freeths is paying for that and will also pay for my LPC in due course), alongside working full-time. By that point, I had already been working for Freeths for a year. All of this meant I had to pick up a lot of jargon and background knowledge very quickly, and learn the correct spelling of ‘judgment’. There was no real secret to overcoming this; part of it was time, and the other part of it was doing thirty minutes of reading at the end of each working day!
I was initially placed in the Professional Support Lawyer (PSL) team, in which I undertook a real variety of work, and I did a lot of talks, presentations and case law updates to teams myself, which I personally enjoyed a great deal. I subsequently moved teams as Freeths wanted me to gain the experience of working in a client facing, fee-earning team. I have always wanted to be in litigation, and Freeths (particularly HR) kindly facilitated my desire to interview internally for, and transfer to, a litigation team within the firm. My role in the litigation team has been incredibly hands-on and exactly what I had hoped it would be. I am drafting legal documents, forms and applications regularly (under supervision of course!), interacting with clients and chambers and attending court hearings.
The firm also facilitates a lot of extra-curricular activities. As well as picking up the tab for our inter-firm football and putting on quarterly socials for all of the junior staff nationally, Freeths has agreed to send myself and two others to Qatar for the 2019 World Corporate Games after we won the UK Team Squash event here in Stoke last year.