My two and a bit weeks with one of the UK's leading law firms has been an experience unlike any I have ever undertaken. The other intern, Noreen, and I were, from the first day, given live cases and a very comprehensive timetable for our six-week placement outlining where we will be under each department of the firm.
Let me start with the location. DWF is in the walkie-talkie building, a structure of architectural genius famed for its status as one of London's tourist attractions. Working from the 32nd floor had an amazing feeling, which I simply cannot describe. However, my week with the insurance department has drowned this out, it's a place where every single detail matters. We were tasked with spotting discrepancies and outlining falsities from claimants. This really did put me in an elevated zone - stretching far beyond the 130-so meters of the walkie-talkie! I was in Law-space - it's a nice environment to inhabit, I must admit!
What has become clear is that there are many areas of contention - no single answer but a set of negotiations and compromises, which brings me onto one of the greatest learning curves thus far. My time sat around a table with a client, an equity partner and a barrister. We were at a barrister's chamber undertaking what is known as a joint settlement meeting or a JSM. It was tough for the lawyers, and myself in the background taking notes-galore and piling the lawyers with questions like the unending stories of our HQ. From this experience I learnt the amount of detail needed when putting a value on an injury and was surprised to see the extent to which one side can produce one figure that is so distinct from the other.
Lesson number one - which I now see as a prerequisite - always be in touch with the numbers and detail of each case, although you might have 20 to get through!
I finish with telling budding non-law students that, judging by the comments made around a table with distinguished individuals, you are not at a disadvantage if you have chosen a non-law pathway. In fact, some courses would serve as an advantage that will catapult you when vying for competitive training contracts a few years down the line! I met solicitors that had not even gone to university.
Blog by Barkhadle Yusuf, 2016 CBT candidate