What made you decide to choose HMG as the place to do your work experience?
Since my LPC is to start in September, I wanted to spend time working with a law firm over summer to get more of an idea of what I’d be dealing with. When HMG said they had a role in private client I thought this would be a fantastic opportunity to deepen my knowledge on the law since I will be doing an elective in wills and probate, and also to deepen my understanding on the running of a firm.
One thing I immediately noticed was its age. I saw that you’ve been established for a long time and I thought that the experiences you could offer would be unique, considering the background that HMG comes from.
I also wanted to further my understanding of client communications, and thought private client would be helpful to grasp an understanding of what it means to aid a client from start to finish.
You’ve been with us for 4 weeks - do you have a routine that you’ve settled in to?
I grab a coffee at the station before getting the train into Oxford. One of the highlights of my day is getting to walk through Oxford in the morning – it’s an amazing city. I’ll then brief with my supervisor for the day and get to work!
Which practice area are you currently working in?
I’ve been working on a project in Private Client. They deal with Wills, Trusts and Estates.
Tell me about the work you’ve been doing?
I’ve been able to get experience across the whole department. A large portion of the work was on a project to organise the firm’s wills database. It was great to have the opportunity to get a feel for legal documentation. It’s also been a nice booster on my typing speed considering the number of documents to go through!
Some of the stand out tasks are when I was asked to draft a discretionary trust. I got to work through it with a solicitor which was a great opportunity to increase my learning in the practice of the law.
I also got to sit in on multiple client appointments. It was a brilliant opportunity to further understand the interpersonal skills needed to be a lawyer.
Do you enjoy the client facing aspect of your job?
It is my favorite part of being here! Helping a client to achieve their goals in a way that leaves them feeling satisfied is something I am always striving towards. I thoroughly enjoyed sitting in on meetings and seeing the firm accomplishing that.
What was the most challenging piece of work you’ve done while you’ve been here? The most interesting? Why?
It was definitely drafting the discretionary trust. I was challenged to think about it for myself so a lot of what I had to do was very self-led. I consulted a colleague and had to read through some pretty hefty precedents! It was great experience though; now that I’ve read through and understand it all, I could happily do it again.
What is the office atmosphere like?
It’s great. The whole office is warm and open. Everyone was so accepting of someone who has just walked into the building for work experience. Specifically, I had great support from Christopher, Anna and Daniel, who all helped me throughout the process and encouraged me to push myself.
Having a takeaway lunch together, or breakfast together has been great fun.
How often do you socialise with your colleagues?
This was one of the unexpected highlights. Throughout the experience I met with my colleagues outside of work to have lunch and breakfast together.
I spent one of the evenings with another solicitor who used to work at the firm. It really gave me a picture of what it meant to have mentors and colleagues who stay with you throughout your career. Very valuable experience.
What has been the biggest difference of expectation now that you’ve spent some time working at a firm?
There were a couple of expectations that I already had that I now understand more fully. I expected to see business being done well. Having seen it worked through in practice, I now comprehend the level of quality, details and precision that goes into all the advice that leaves the office.
I also thought I’d see how the firm interacts with it’s clients and the community. The commercial awareness that feeds into this can be a complex concept to wrap your head around, but practical experience has helped me understand it more clearly now.
What area of law are you most passionate about?
I’m really interested in Commercial law. I’ve always been interested in business because as I’ve grown up, I’ve watched my father own and run his own business. Private Client at HMG was a fantastic opportunity to explore the workings of a firm but long term I’m still really interested in pursuing Commercial Law.
What is the biggest challenge you think you will face in the next 5 years of your career?
I think personal management in the transition from student to full time work will be a challenge most aspiring solicitors face. I’ve been inspired to see how solicitors in the firm manage themselves so well. I think continuing to learn how I work and the best way to approach a task, is key to working efficiently and making the best use of time.
Final question - what would you name your boat if you had one?
Madagascar Cruiser. Friends have called me Alex the Lion (from the Madagascar movie,) so it seems appropriate!