My week’s vacation scheme at Gepp Solicitors...
Completing a vacation scheme at Gepp Solicitors Chelmsford Office has been an excellent opportunity to gain some practical experience of the day-to-day operations that take place at a busy law firm, allowing me to witness how the legal knowledge that I have acquired so far during my law degree is put into practice.
When I arrived on Monday morning, I was greeted with a friendly welcome from reception and Private Client Solicitor Georgia Bolton. I immediately noticed the firm’s friendly working environment and close-knit working culture. After a brief introduction and a tour of the building, I spent the rest of the morning working in the Private Client Department, alongside Georgia and was given the task of drafting a will with an accompanying letter. I found this task really engaging as I was able to examine a real template of a will and consequently learnt about the various components that make up a will. In the afternoon, I was based in the Family Department and worked with Family Solicitor Filomena Sterkaj. It was interesting completing a form E and learning about how the court determines financial provision on divorce.
On Tuesday morning, I completed a stimulating practical task in the Employment Department. I read several case studies and decided whether discrimination claims could be made by applying relevant statutes and case law. I also used the database Practical Law by Thomson Reuters to further my understanding of the Equality Act 2010 and on the law regarding discrimination. I really enjoyed working in the Employment Department and one could clearly see it that it is an incredibly varied and an ever-changing area of law. It was fascinating to learn that an employment solicitor is required to be an advisor, negotiator, litigator and psychologist all in one!
I spent the afternoon working with Commercial Property Solicitor Deborah Conroy and was assigned the task of considering the factors that need to be taken into account when dealing with the grant of a commercial lease. I was also able to appreciate the importance of explaining the law effectively, but in a way that can be easily understood by those who may not be familiar with legal terms.
A key highlight of the week was on Wednesday, as I had the opportunity to shadow Senior Criminal Solicitor and Partner Peter Butterfield. In the morning, I accompanied Peter to Chelmsford Magistrates Court and observed numerous cases. It was fascinating to see how the law is adapting to developments in technology as I noticed that prosecutors and defence lawyers were using laptops as a mode for retrieving information and communicating with one another during hearings. In the afternoon, I was able to read through an ongoing case and had the opportunity to attend a client appointment. It was interesting to witness how Criminal Law deals with diverse issues as each case has unique circumstances which requires solicitors to think in many different ways.
On Thursday, I spent the morning in the Dispute Resolution Department and worked with Michael Callaghan. I was able to read an on-going case and learnt about the relevance of the Housing Act 1988 in regards to ending an assured shorthold tenancy and the section 8 notice procedure.
A fantastic lunch with Georgia Bolton and current paralegal Gemma Barker was a great opportunity to ask questions about their experiences of working at Gepp Solicitors. It was useful to hear about the alternative routes of becoming a solicitor as opposed to the traditional route of securing a training contract after university. For example, I learnt about the benefits of becoming a paralegal and completing the LPC on a part-time basis.
After lunch, I completed some administrative tasks in the Residential Conveyancing Department before having a one-to-one chat with Spencer Davis, the Business Development and Marketing Director at Gepp Solicitors. He gave me some advice on the importance of networking and some helpful tips on how to make myself stand out from the crowd in order to aid my professional development.
On Friday, I completed some market research with Natasha Kendall, the Digital Marketing Executive. In the afternoon, I delivered a 10-minute presentation on the areas of law that I enjoyed learning about during the week which was extremely rewarding and fun. I also received positive feedback on my overall performance throughout the week.
To conclude, I have thoroughly enjoyed my experience at Gepp Solicitors. I was able to gain an accurate depiction of the culture of the firm, the role of legal professionals and the chance to develop my legal skills. I would like to thank all the staff at Gepp Solicitors Chelmsford Office for being so welcoming and making me feel part of the team. I would definitely encourage any interested candidate to apply!
This blog was written by our Summer 2019 Vacation Scheme candidate Nadine Adeyemi.