Day One

Leigh5

Day one with Forster Dean Solicitors. Going on four hours sleep, and being up since five (and still going), I am well and truly shattered.

So the commute was a disaster. All-in-all I spent 5 hours commuting, which is almost as long as the day in the office had lasted. I am still outraged by Virgin Trains for announcing changes to a service while closing the doors. I was within an inch of being decapitated, and I’d rather that than be stuck in lovely Scotland!

Well, I feel that it is fair to say that today had brought events which were not what I expected… just as I expected. From walking through the door, you can really appreciate the different environment a high-street firm has to offer as opposed to a big city firm like Shakespeare Martineau. There were only three people in the office today, and there were roughly 5 or 6 desks. I’m still not sure how I feel about this. Although the big city firm environment brought excitement and curiosity, I realise that I should put my first-impressions aside and keep an open mind. Therefore, I will return to this point later in the week.

For the first time I had the pleasure of figuring out what a case-management system is and how it is used. Peter was a delight, and had spent a lot of his time showing me how the system works. To put it shortly, the case management system allows you to create cases and add information about the client, their witnesses, their insurers, the courts, the defendants etcetera. Even more wonderfully, if you’ve entered the data correctly, the information is mail-merged automatically into whatever forms or documents you need to issue. The system also tracks how much time you spend on each task, and automatically charges it (based on hourly rate) to the client’s account.

A lot of the work that Forster Dean carries out is no win / no fee. I managed to wrap my head around this concept by looking at a standard Conditional Fee Agreement (or CFA) which the firm uses. After a thorough read, I conclude that a CFA is a document which basically allocates who pays what if and when, but it should always be read thoroughly and with a great deal of care!

The final activity to mention, and the most enjoyable activity of today, was having the satisfaction of foreshadowing Peter whilst he dealt with clients face to face. The importance of interpersonal skills were reaffirmed – Peter’s clients were made to feel like friends from the moment they walked in to the moment he showed them to the door. Out of the four visits today, one was most unusual; a drop-in from a woman who had trouble with an executor. The woman was clearly in despair, and I fancied I was observing an appointment with a GP or a therapist of that fashion. With the client going into great deal about her stresses, it had occurred to me that Peter has two jobs; solicitor and counsellor. Am I really prepared to be giving people advice on dealing with personal relationships?

#FDS

Vacation Scheme with Forster Dean Solicitors

7

Forster Dean Solicitors are a community-based law firm representing individuals in personal injury claims. I’ll be taking a gigantic leap from the commercial based law firms such as Shakespeare Martineau, to see what it’s like dealing with individual clients. I have a great indication that the work will be very different from that which I experienced last month in Birmingham; so I am not exactly sure what to expect. But, as every reasonable law student should, i’m keeping an open mind and like a sponge absorb as much information about the industry as I can.

I’ve costed the week and it lies between £100 to £150, so not cheap! This includes four trains and two buses each day, as well as lunch. This worked out much cheaper than booking a hotel, so sadly I will be doing a 5 hour commute each day. This has been quite frustrating, but you can’t put a price on your future!

As per usual, I plan to keep a regular diary of my time in Leigh. You can follow my updates by searching the tag #FDS here on my blog. Unfortunately the posts will be have to be brief due to client confidentiality. Let’s see how it goes, see you soon!

Birmingham is MASSIVE

Yesterday was absolute chaos, my train was diverted twice and thus had to change at Preston and Crewe; typical. But I have finally arrived in Birmingham, and I never knew just how large it actually is. My assumption was based on the fact that Manchester and London are the main economic ‘power houses’, but this is simply not true. When I left the train station with heaps of luggage for this one week, I got lost on Navigation Street (irony) while trying to find my lodgings for the evening.

So when I got back and unpacked, me and Alex (a friend from the course also doing the same placement) went out to find somewhere to get a pint in. We stumbled across this very decadent establishment, which charged £5 for a pint of Estrella!

It’s now morning and I feel energetic and ready to start my first day at Shakespeare Martineau! #SHMA

Vacation Scheme with Shakespeare Martineau

AAEAAQAAAAAAAAOMAAAAJGJlMGVmNGZiLTQ2Y2UtNDQzZS1hZTllLWJlOGY3OGI4ZjM3ZQI have returned from scorching Gran Canaria, and I have turned to jacket jumper and hot water bottle being back in the UK. Nether the less, it’s time to crack on and get one’s foot in the door. I am very excited yet anxious to start my work placement with Shakespeare Martineau. I will be staying in the city of Birmingham by myself for the week.

I plan to keep a regular diary of my time there, and you can follow my updates by searching the tag #SHMA here on my blog. Unfortunately the posts will be very brief as I will be bound by client confidentiality. I hope that you guys can join me on this experience!

Wish me luck! 🙂