Meet the trainee – Laura Simpson
What did you do before starting your training contract?
I studied Law at Cardiff University and completed the LPC straight afterwards. Rather than going straight into a training contract, I decided to have a year doing non-law work to gain some life experience. I worked for a few months at a wedding venue before moving to Hunan Province in China, where I worked as an English teacher at a boarding school.
Teaching in China was a great opportunity. Despite having no previous experience, I single-handily taught classes of 60-70 pupils. I calculated that I was teaching about 1,100 pupils a week! I lived in a rural city with very few westerners, so I was treated like a minor celebrity. It took a while to get used to people taking my photograph in the supermarket and strangers offering to pay for my food or drinks.
Although working in China was unrelated to law, I think it really helped me secure a training contract. It was something different that made me stand out and also gave me some interesting answers to the competency questions that all firms ask.
When I returned to the UK, I spent a year as a paralegal at Cardiff law firm Hugh James working in probate. This gave me a bit of a 'practise run' at law before starting my training contract. I became proficient in the skills that are frightening the first time you try them, such as speaking to clients, managing a case load and drafting letters and court applications.
What made you choose Michelmores?
Primarily it was the high quality of work. I wanted a big firm doing big, interesting cases but with the work life balance to go with it. It was also really important to me to find a firm with a team ethos and a friendly, inclusive culture, which Michelmores certainly has! I am originally from Cornwall, so it was lovely to find everything I was looking for in a South West firm.
What's been your best moment so far?
So far I've loved all of it. I am now in my second seat in the London office which is great- lots of big clients, high value cases and fast paced. It's really exciting to be working on cases that I had read about in the news.
I think the highlight has got to be attending hearings in the Royal Courts of Justice and conferences with barristers or clients. Michelmores' London office is on New Street Square at the heart of the legal district, so it couldn’t be more convenient for the courts. Plus, the views are breath taking. We're on the 12th floor and I can see St Paul's, the Gherkin and the Shard from my desk!
Outside of the office
I am new to London, so I am really enjoying exploring the City and getting around all the sights. Michelmores provides the London trainee with a flat which is very central and there is so much to do in London - lots of it free.
When I'm in Exeter, I like to walk along the Quay and have lunch by the river - Double Locks has quickly become a favourite. Michelmores also has great links with the JLD (Junior Lawyers Division) and DASLS (Devon and Somerset Law Society) as well as a very full social calendar of its own, so there is always a pub quiz, game of bowling or a ball to attend after work.
When I'm not out and about, I love to cook, particularly for friends.
If you have any other questions on being a trainee please comment below or tweet us @MMTrainees