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Summer Placements and Vacation Schemes 2021 – Students Share Their Experience 

BEST SUMMER EVER!

It is always the moments before the second half of the working day, just after lunch, that one realises how good one’s time at work has been. That has been the case for me, especially when looking through the office window of the firm’s building. Whilst the two weeks I spent working at ‘Fenchurch Law’ was met with a few complications, I must confess, it was a blast! It all began with the application and interview processes.

In the two months leading up to my first working day at ‘Fenchurch Law’, I was privileged to enjoy certain events. These events began when I saw an opening for a 2-week internship with ‘Fenchurch Law LLP’ on the JobTeaser website (through the help of the University’s Career and Employability Centre (CEC)), I wasn’t about to let this opportunity pass me by, and so I got my list and engines started.

The first of these events was the application process for the role. This was unlike any other application process I had undertaken; as not only was I to submit a CV and Cover letter, I also had to include an essay of 700 words, based on a specific topic. Whilst it was a whole new ball game, thankfully, I made it through this stage and was invited for an interview.

The interview process was another formidable experience, as I was evaluated by three individuals with whom I was familiar. If you think being interviewed by people who you neither know, nor have ever met, is a daunting experience, then try being interviewed by people you do know for a change! Despite this, it went well. Even after thinking that my passionate talk on “EU’s Indistinct Measures on Goods” was a bit too… well passionate, I made it through, and was offered the job.

During these two months, I also had the opportunity of working at another law firm which exposed me to the legal world and helped hone some of my skills, including communication, attention to detail, analytical writing and lots more.

What then did you learn from Fenchurch you might ask? Well, let me tell you.    

My knowledge of the legal market was enhanced. You do not realise how little you know until you have the owner of a company ask you about your career path and all you have are simplistic answers. However, even after giving the most cliché list of firms I envisioned myself working at and thinking what a messy state I had gotten myself into, my co-workers listened and offered feedback which helped open my eyes to many concepts and principles that are key to the market; like levelling up the law, work diversity, coordination, personability and organizational skills. This invaluable and unexpected guidance and support helped propel me on.

At ‘Fenchurch Law’, I also got to understand some of the inner workings of Insurance Law, as applied to policy-holders. ‘Fenchurch Law’ being a boutique firm specialising in insurance disputes, is the UK’s leading firm of policyholder focused insurance disputes solicitors; what better place to get an understanding of insurance disputes than here?! Having tried my hand at some cases, I realised how rewarding Insurance Law can be.

I must confess the train rides and walks to and from work offered sights to behold. Before I started working at ‘Fenchurch Law’ I lived mostly indoors (well I would like to blame it on the pandemic but that would not be true; I simply prefer to stay indoors than venture out). Having to leave home each day and journey to and from work was an unparalleled experience.

Having made assumptions from the job description, I came into ‘Fenchurch Law’ with the expectation of enhancing my skills and knowledge of the law and meeting new people -no more, no less! I must say that my assumption was, thankfully, an erroneous one, as I got more than I read about and bargained for. Thus, I encourage you to give summer internships, as well as the Careers and Employability Center (which can be found here: https://bradford.jobteaser.com/en/dashboard) a try. You might just end up having the best summer ever.      

                                                                MELODY AMADI - INTERNSHIP AT FENCHRUCH LAW LLP, LEEDS

   

From left to right: Wiktoria Lenkiewich (3rd year student University of Bradford. Wiktoria also undertook an internship with Fenchurch Law in September 2021), Daniel Robin (Senior Associate, Fenchurch Law), Melody Amadi and Toby Naborro (Associate, Fenchurch Law).

UNPAID TWO-WEEK VOLUNTARY ROLE LEEDS TO PERMANENT PAID POSITION

Hi, my name is Imaan Siddiqui. I am a Law with Business and Management student. I recently chose to volunteer at the ‘Girlington Advice Centre and Training Centre (Girlington)’ in the hope of gaining experience and transferrable skills. I also wanted to join Girlington to give back to the society; investing my time in helping people, using my existing knowledge, experience and skill-set.

Through ‘JobsTeaser’, I found the 2-week volunteering opportunity advertisement. After reading the job description, I decided to move forward with the application process. It was quite a simple process; I had to submit a CV tailored to the role, and write a Cover Letter explaining my interest in volunteering at Girlington. My advice to anyone applying to Girlington is to be very honest about your level experiences and express your enthusiasm for helping the community. Volunteering can open up doors as it did for me and can also be very rewarding.

 My placement required me to shadow an advisor during client meetings, complete paperwork and also photocopy and scan confidential documents. I had the opportunity to learn about welfare and benefits, Immigration Law and EU settlement schemes. In addition, I had the responsibility of writing letters and reports for the Council, which enhanced my written communication skills. My role at Girlington taught me how to review clients’ paperwork and in that, I learned how to draft advice letters and file paperwork in accordance with set standards.  I also had the opportunity to work with the health team during which, I prepared a mental health survey and a spreadsheet involving possible activities to be conducted during the upcoming summer scheme.

 Whilst at Girlington, I was able to utilise some of my existing skills; I am bilingual which acted in my favour as majority of the clients at Girlington are not fluent in English. I helped translate and build a rapport with the non-English speaking clients. I also used my proficiency in IT; I assisted the advice team inputting data on their software and spreadsheets.

 Overall, my experience at Girlington has been amazing! I have learnt the art of people skills, negotiation, use of language, providing relevant evidence and data inputting. During my placement, talking to clients and helping the advisors in the shadowing sessions, I learnt how to deal with clients and also how to complete and submit various applications on their behalf. Girlington has helped me gain experience in a number of areas of law as well as enhance my existing skillset, in order to complete tasks to the best possible standard.

 When applying for the volunteering role, I was not aware of the staff’s attitude towards helping members of the public, but it is clear that the work they do makes a significant difference in peoples’ lives -it is incredible! As soon as I started volunteering at Girlington, I felt that I had found a place where I could make a difference. I found people who were so caring, not only to their clients but also to their colleagues and interns. They willing to make my experience as great as they possibly could.

 My aim at the start of the volunteering opportunity was to gain experience but it has become more than that. Today, I work at Girlington alongside my studies, and I am trying to contribute to the organisation as much as I can.

 I expected to gain experience as a volunteer over a period of just two weeks, but this short-term voluntary role led to me being offered a part-time job at Girlington. It is amazing what doors a short-term internship can open!

 

                                IMAAN SIDDIQUI - VOLUNTEERING WITH GIRLINGTON ADVICE CENTRE, BRADFORD

 

Imaan with Rubina Burham, Centre Manager at Girlington Advice Centre

PASSION FOR COMMERCIAL LAW

 I am Ammara Haider, and I am now in the second year of the LLB degree programme at the University of Bradford. During the summer break at the end of my first year, I was successful in securing a placement with ‘Fenchurch Law’ for two weeks. ‘Fenchurch Law’ is the UK's leading firm for policyholders insurance claims.

I applied for this internship to get a grasp of commercial law. I have had a passion for this area of law ever since I started my own business as a professional henna artist at a young age. I was fortunate enough to get the opportunity to work on business-related insurance matters, which gave me a strong insight into this unique field. ‘Fenchurch Law’ has the ability to prepare individuals like me to become well equipped in the legal field. This has been demonstrated through their continuous support in helping me develop my reasoning to the analytical level. This echoes their standards in being the UK’s leading firm in this specialized area of law.

As soon as I saw the advertisement, I immediately thought of applying with the intention of  building the skills that I had gained through my henna business and previous legal work experiences. My internship with ‘Fenchurch Law’ has undoubtedly enhanced my skills and knowledge through shadowing the day-to-day activities of senior lawyers. During my internship, I edited client letters before they were submitted to the opposing party. Assessing sensitive cases allowed me to put my skills and initial university knowledge into practice. I also liaised with clients and took attendance notes, which the firm’s solicitors required, to assist them in putting together a claim. In addition, I wrote advice letters relating to current conflicts that the firm was handling, which taught me how to analyse information and draw inferences.

During my time at ‘Fenchurch Law’, I found that due to their varying nature, some tasks took longer than others to complete. I therefore learnt that patience was key to seeing each task to completion. To excel in the legal profession, one must be ambitious, optimistic, and should be able to use their initiative to draft official documentation in a legal format. One must also have the ability to build a rapport with clients, that is key in forming a good and effective working relationship. Whilst at ‘Fenchurch Law’, I was able to utilise my legal skills to come up with a structure to set out attendance notes. I also had the opportunity to think about what sort of advice the clients should get regarding existing disputes. As legal writing is vital for an LLB student, I will be able to utilise the skills gained during this internship in my studies.

I believe, keeping in touch and working with ‘Fenchurch Law’ in the coming years of my studies will open doors to allow me to excel further in becoming an aspirational lawyer.

AMMARA HAIDER - INTERNSHIP FENCHURCH LAW LLP, LEEDS

 

Ammara and Saba discussing their experience at Fenchurch Law with one of their lecturers, Tuiya Tembo.

From left: Ammara, Tuiya and Saba.

NOT ONE BUT TWO SUCCESSFUL INTERVIEWS IN ONE DAY!

Why I applied for the internship:

I want to be a solicitor so I wanted to gain some relevant legal experience in order to ascertain whether this is the right career choice for me. Therefore, I started looking at different internship opportunities. I came across many but the internship with Fenchurch Law appealed to me the most. I really liked the firm’s main objective which is to represent policyholders. I was also able to relate to the firm’s values and I therefore knew this would be the best opportunity me. From my research about the firm, I learnt that there were only a few fee earners within the Leeds office. This made me feel that I would be able to get to know each of them during my internship, if I were successful, and find out about each of their career journeys and ask questions. 

How I found the application and interview process:

The application required one to submit an essay on Brexit, a Cover Letter and a CV. I found out about the internship whilst I was having end of year assessments and the application deadline was a few days away, so I had to start the application straight after my final assignment. The essay was quite challenging because I had to do research and summarise all the information so as not to exceed the word limit. The essay related to Brexit, a topic I previously had limited knowledge on but through my research, I was able to gain a lot of information on various issues, that I did not know. 

In terms of preparing my CV and Cover Letter, I was able to get feedback from the University’s career and employability services, which was helpful, as I now have a good idea of what makes a good CV and cover letter. 

After submitting my CV, Cover Letter and essay, I was informed via email that I had been shortlisted for an interview. 

I had never attended a job interview before, so I was very nervous. I looked on different websites and watched different videos researching what questions I could be asked so as to  prepare answers for these. I also booked a mock interview with the University’s career and employability services. This was very beneficial, as I was able to obtain feedback which I used in my preparation for the interview.

Coincidentally, I had an interview for a part-time job on the same day as the interview for the internship. After being interviewed for the internship, I was much more confident going for the interview for the part-time job; I was able to answer questions very well which undoubtedly enabled me to get the part-time job. Therefore, I think that overall, the application and interview process were very beneficial. 

What I hoped to achieve:

I wanted to find out what it was like to work as a lawyer in an office environment and see how solicitors work and deal with clients. I also wanted to learn about insurance disputes because insurance relates to contract, which relates to business, and I find these areas interesting. 

What I actually achieved/learnt:

I learnt a lot about insurance disputes and have found that it is much broader than I first thought. I have also realised that a law firm environment is not as strict and rigid as I thought it would be. I learnt about different types of law firms and different types of lawyers which was very helpful because it enabled me to understand which type of firm I would enjoy working in and in what position. I also learnt a lot about judges and barristers and how they differ from solicitors, in terms of how they work and their knowledge.

Words of advice for anyone thinking of applying for an internship/placement:

Try your best during the application process because it is a really good opportunity. I really enjoyed the experience and was able to learn so much. If you are offered a place, make the most of it and ask as many questions as possible.

                                                                                                  SABA FATIMA - INTERNSHIP FENCHURCH LAW LLP, LEEDS 

LASTING EXPERIENCE!

If there is only one truth you should know in university then this is it: putting the knowledge you have garnered into practice is a wonderful experience. Thus, I, Melody Amadi want to engage you, my dear readers, for the next few minutes, in my 6 weeks summer experience working at Proctor and Hobbs Solicitors.

When deciding on how to spend my summer, like most students, I was considering finally working in a law firm, learning where I needed improvement, and growing my skills. And because the legal sector is broad, I wanted to find out the areas of law which were most suitable for me. So, through the help of the Careers and Employability Service (CES) Team, I found some good job offers, got the necessary documents in order, and applied. One of the roles was a 6-week internship with’ Proctor & Hobbs Solicitors’.

Someway, somehow (and to my surprise!), I was informed by ‘Proctor & Hobbs’ that I had made it through to the next stage and, after an interview with them, which went wonderfully, I was offered the job and told to start work the following Monday. I was on cloud nine! It was to be my first work experience in a law firm, and I was determined that it was going to go superbly.

My first day of work came and it dawned on me that this was my first practical experience in the legal sector. At this point I only had the media/television programs as background knowledge. This being the case, trust me when I say my first day was not the most pleasant one. I was worried about not looking professional enough, not having the right words to say, not knowing how to approach my co-workers. However, I got myself together and said a little prayer in my heart for a successful day and dived straight into what seemed like the deep blue sea of the internship. I had signed up for this and was not about to back out. Not after the support I had gotten from everyone. 

I spent my first week trying to ease myself into the firm, learning the dos and don’ts of work-life, balancing it with socialisation, enjoying the pleasure of working in a firm with understanding people, and learning how to use the coffee machine. You can read more of the details in my other blog https://www.instagram.com/p/CRY6o8NNPw5/?utm_source=ig_web_copy_link

My skills improved each day and, honestly, it was weird and also delightful seeing the changes for myself. I became more confident in myself, six hours on one casework shortened to four and then two. What shocked me the most however, was how comfortable I became around my co-workers especially during the social events I attended with them both in the office (like birthday celebrations) and outside. In addition to my social skills, my colleagues helped me with editing some articles for the firm contributing to honing my creative writing skills.  

The successive weeks, however, were very different from the first. I was getting used to my tasks and was exploring other areas of law. I had initially started with ‘Personal Injury’ and was now trying my hands in Immigration, Criminal and Family Law. I enjoyed every minute of it. I got to understand concepts like corporatism, work-life balance and also the importance of setting personal due dates; they no longer became those distant entities written on boards. I was so enthralled about the new skills, knowledge and experience I acquired while in the company, that I wrote about them:  https://www.instagram.com/p/CR1BavbLYyQ/?utm_source=ig_web_copy_link, https://www.instagram.com/p/CR_j6BYtU3R/?utm_source=ig_web_copy_link, https://www.instagram.com/p/CSOrYBNtTjv/?utm_source=ig_web_copy_link,

To date, I still reminisce about the days spent at ‘Proctor & Hobbs’. So, I advise that if you want to apply your knowledge in a company then go for it.  Seek the support of the necessary services available like the CES and do not back down, even when your legs quiver at the hypothetical thoughts of embarrassing yourself in front of your colleagues. Do not back down, because it will be a memorable and lasting experience, that, I can guarantee.     

                          MELODY AMADI 6-WEEKS SUMMER WORK EXPERIENCE – PROCTOR & HOBBS SOLICITORS, BRADFORD