My first month in London: Getting to the bottom of the Royal Courts of Justice
I am just over one month into my first seat in the Commercial Litigation department at Michelmores' London office. Although I am primarily involved in litigation, as a trainee I have also been given the opportunity to get stuck into a variety of practice areas including Banking, Insolvency and Education − to name but a few. It's a lively and exciting place to be and a typical day involves working on a wide range of legal matters including attending client meetings, drafting documents and conducting legal research. I also regularly take a trip to the Royal Courts of Justice in order to file documents or issue proceedings. Luckily, the London office is conveniently situated on Chancery Lane so the Courts and Chambers are all within a five minute walk.
I have already had the opportunity to conduct some low-level advocacy, recently having to make an Application in person in front of a High Court Master. This turned out to be far less intimidating than it sounds as I had been provided with a watertight Application by the relevant fee-earner so there was no need for the Master to ask me any tricky questions. Perhaps the most challenging aspect of visiting the RCJ is navigating your way out of the building which resembles something between a cathedral, a museum of legal artefacts and Hogwarts. I remain convinced that several of the staircases lead to different places on different days, resulting in me ending up in the RCJ basement on no less than three occasions.
Trainees at Michelmores are also given the opportunity to get involved in business development side of the firm and are encouraged to attend networking events. Last week, Michelmores hosted an Insurance dinner at the Grange Hotel in St Pauls which I helped to organise and where I enjoyed a three course dinner and lively debate about the relationship between insurance brokers and insurers. Next month I will be attending 'Speed Networking for Women' along with several colleagues from the London office.
Living and working in London has been a totally new experience for me but certainly not an unwelcome one. Aside from a few minor hiccups (including losing my Oyster card mid-journey in my first week) moving to London has been an easy transition helped hugely by the supportive staff at Michelmores who have made sure I have settled into both the London office and my new flat. One major benefit of my current seat is that I get to stay in firm’s ‘trainee flat’ in Clapham, a one bed flat on the fifth floor with an amazing skyline view across London. I can see from Battersea Power Station in the West, to the Shard in the East, with the London Eye and St Paul's Cathedral in the middle!
It is safe to say that I am very much enjoying my experience. Instead of feeling like a tourist, I now embrace the daily commute, am an avid Metro reader and will talk at length to anyone who will listen about the best underground line to use at a particular time of day. I've also picked up lots of tips such as the importance of a pair of comfy shoes (unless you can run in heels) and why casual Fridays should be approached with caution − always bring a spare suit in the event you have to attend court!