Before starting my work experience, I was nervous that I might not have the best knowledge of the Criminal Justice system. However, researching the work experience placement helped me fit in more on the first day as I had an idea of what I will be expecting.
Pathways to Law Student | Crown Prosecution Service
My 5-day virtual work experience at the Crown Prosecution Service
Before starting my work experience, I was nervous that I might not have the best knowledge of the Criminal Justice system. However, researching the work experience placement helped me fit in more on the first day as I had an idea of what I will be expecting. Continuing on, the first day was presented to us as we are the new lawyers at the CPS. We had a chance to interview a CPS case project manager, many more interviews with the different staff were conducted throughout the week and all of my questions were answered to a high standard. The timetable for each day was clear and the majority of the independent work given was to read the resources they sent us, for example case papers and a mock trial document which helped explain the roles of the position in court better. After each resource given, the CPS would test us online to help us manage our understanding of the work and this was very beneficial as a lot of support was given well to help us get the best out of this work experience as possible.
My favourite part of this work experience was a task called ‘You be the Judge’ where we had the chance to read case studies and videos were included for better understanding. After reading through we had the choices of deciding on the appropriate sentence which helped increase my knowledge on case studies and it was a very fun task to participate in as well. Also, on that day we explored various interpretations of evidence. Additionally, there was an interview with a lawyer at the CPS which was beneficial as all these interviews included their career choices and helped me realise there are more roles than just a solicitor/ a judge and this was explained well in depth.
Meeting all of the staff online was wonderful, they were welcoming and encouraged us to participate which made this experience better. I received a lot of great tips that I can definitely use in my future and this experience has worked well for me as I was able to build connections with people in the law industry. Going on, I gained a further insight in what I want to do, how to get there and what my life could potentially be like if I do work in the legal sector.
Looking back, I asked the CPS a lot of questions that not people in my everyday life could have answered about Law. I took the opportunity well to make sure I am prepared for my future. A top tip for anyone taking a placement is to research, by that just looking at their website so, you know what they do. Make sure to make use if this opportunity and build good relations with the staff and peers because they may have an interesting answer to your question you would have never received until you ask first.
Be confident and it’s ok if your nervous, I’m sure many more people feel the same way as you but I promise it’s an opportunity that you won’t regret. Growing up, not knowing if you want to go in that route or not for majority of your life, the work experience you attend will help you answer those questions.
I was uncertain as to whether this placement would benefit me as much virtually as it would face-to-face…it surprised me; it has been the best thing I have ever been given the opportunity to do and I wish I could do it all again.
Pathways to Law student | Irwin Mitchell
My experience at Irwin Mitchell
During the February half-term, I had the rare opportunity of completing a legal work placement at Irwin Mitchell; to complete experience in serious injury, insolvency, WTED, medical negligence and Court of Protection. Due to the pandemic, I was incredibly sceptical about how a work placement would work in a virtual capacity. How would I be able to communicate with solicitors effectively through a screen? How would I ask for help when I needed it? What if I did not understand the work? I was uncertain as to whether this placement would benefit me as much virtually as it would face-to-face…it surprised me; it has been the best thing I have ever been given the opportunity to do and I wish I could do it all again.
On my first day I was nervous, which was to be expected, but incredibly excited for the week ahead of me as I got to learn more about the subject that I love and the occupation that I aspire to be in. In the placement each group had a ‘buddy’ who you got to speak to at the start of the day and at the end of the day, when meeting my ‘buddy’ on the first day all my nerves were put to rest as I quickly realised that all the solicitors in the firm were incredibly friendly and were as excited to meet me as I was to meet them. Once I had met my ‘buddy’ and got to know them and the rest of my group. My first day was spent in the serious injury sector, I was originally unsure about this as it is a personal law sector rather than business law (which I am most interested in due to my family background), but I entered it with an open mind as I wanted to try new things which this placement certainly gave me the opportunity to do. Each day I met with my group and the supervisor from each sector where the supervisor explained their path into the legal profession, which for me was incredibly informative, they then explained their role in the department and went through the task they had set for us to complete. When completing the task all the information was provided on a help sheet or accessible on the internet and was representative of the ‘real work’ that solicitors do daily. We were given artificial cases to read which included issues the departments deal with regularly and then advise the ‘clients’ whilst also using document templates that the solicitors use in the office. During each day we had a one-hour training session that educated us on a range of subjects such as: CV writing, networking, LinkedIn training and talks with barristers which were all helpful in providing key skills for us moving forward. At the end of each day, I reported back to my supervisor to receive feedback from the task to improve my knowledge even further and to help me to improve.
My favourite part of the experience was being able to improve my confidence by working alongside legal professionals that I admire and hearing all their different stories that are incredibly motivational. This has given me the motivation to plan for my future and has made the blurriness of my future much clearer as it has helped me to broaden my views on how I would personally like to enter the profession. The experience has also taught me that there are other ways to achieve my dream goal of becoming a solicitor if the competitive entry requirements are not in my favour the first time. Even though I was anxious to be completing an online placement, all the staff were incredibly friendly and accommodating of our situation and were always on hand to help by a single email and have taught me so much about the legal profession that a college environment would not be able to teach. In hand with this, I believe that it has not just advantaged me in preparing for my future, it has also advantaged me in my academic studies too.
Overall, my advice for any students contemplating a work placement in any occupation, the one thing I would say is, just go for it! If an opportunity to complete a work placement is given to you, take it straight away as you will never look back. In competitive industries work placements are incredibly hard to come by and are useful in supporting your applications to whichever destination you aspire to get to. The experience gives you valuable knowledge that you could not get anywhere else as your supervisors are professionals who you may have the opportunity to work alongside in the future. I can promise that you will never regret it as it has made me more certain of my future and I am eager to complete many more placements such as this one in the future!