The reason that I chose to apply to Leigh Day for a training contract was because I had always wanted it to be my role not only to understand the law and its application but also to be able to identify and resolve its misapplication and the resulting injustices wherever they occurred. It felt like Leigh Day was the right place to develop those skills. I was right: as soon as I joined the firm it was immediately apparent that I was surrounded by likeminded people working tirelessly for that very same goal.
Working alongside colleagues at Leigh Day who are specialists at what they do is one thing, but what I was perhaps less prepared for was the sense of unity across the firm. Whichever department you work in during your two seats, everyone is equally committed to their work and the individuals that they represent.
In my first seat I worked with Sarah Campbell the Clinical Negligence department. Initially, I found the processes of getting to grips with the medical side of the law intellectually very stimulating and the learning curve when I first arrived was incredibly steep and fast! On the other hand, working closely with clients, for example with the parents of children who have suffered birth injuries was one of the most humbling experiences during my time in the department.
I assisted my supervisor on a variety of different cases during my time in the department – all of which were at different stages of the litigation process. I spent a lot of time working on the early investigative stages of cases but also had the opportunity to see the conclusion of cases, for example I was able to attend an infant settlement approval hearing on a case which had concluded after 6 years of work. One of the things I have found at Leigh Day is that if you express at particular interest in a certain area of the law or a particular subject, you will always been encouraged and supported to express an opinion or pursue that area of work further.
Prior to starting my training contract, I had volunteered for a variety of organisations supporting Refugees and Asylum seekers but I did not have any paralegal experience in a law firm. This didn’t seem to matter and although it took a few weeks to settle into the environment it has also been hugely rewarding, fulfilling and exciting to work on such interesting cases for 12 months at a time.
I am now in my second seat, working with Chris Benson and Shubha Banerjee in the Employment and Discrimination department. When I reflect on my role this year, I think that my confidence has grown so much over the course of my first seat that I now feel able to approach Chris and Shubha with ideas and opinions on the cases that I am working on which, while not made autonomously, has enabled me to play a much more active role in the work.
Being a trainee at Leigh Day is also a lot of fun, in the last year I have cycled to Amsterdam on a Tandem for the Spinal Injuries Association, helped the Back-Up trust at the London Bike Show and run 10k for Roald Dahl’s Marvellous Children’s Charity – to name but a few.