Law Works gave me the opportunity to practice and hone key skills. I would recommend it to everyone, from juniors to partners, as it is such a worthwhile experience.
From the opportunity to apply my legal property knowledge, to working with and learning from colleagues across the business: notwithstanding the value of working for a good cause, Law Works has benefited my career greatly. Here's my experience to date.
My fellow trainee, Jake, and I decided to team up and work on a Law Works matter together. A trainee's workload can often be unpredictable and so sharing the load proved to be a good solution for us. It was nice to know there was someone to take the reins if either of us was otherwise occupied. We chose bid on a property litigation matter concerning service charge issues under a lease of a property between a local charity and a local authority. We selected this matter because I had just started my property litigation seat which Jake had just exited. We decided that we wanted to apply that knowledge, to develop skills we were in the process of learning.
We were ultimately successful and so under the expert supervision of property litigators Lara Nyman and Bhavini Patel we embarked on our first Law Works pro bono matter. One of the benefits of getting involved with pro bono is that it gives you exposure to teams and people you wouldn’t otherwise have the opportunity to work with … although in this particular case, we were acquainted with the team and it was great to build on those relationships.
One of the challenges a trainee faces is that moving from seat to seat means it’s not always possible to see a matter through from start to finish. However, working on a Law Works matter enables you to do just that. From opening the file, drafting and sending an appropriately worded retainer letter, to corresponding with the client and trying to identify with them their main objectives. It’s useful for both you and the client to be able to identify what’s at issue and also the clients ultimate goal.
In this particular case, Jake and I used our property skills to review the relevant lease provisions, identify the breaches and outline the effect of this in a commercial context. From a litigious point of view, we were able to identify what the client needed to do to avoid being in continuous breach of the lease and what they needed to do to avoid litigation and other potential devastating consequences.
Aside from the obvious learning opportunities, this was a great matter for Jake and I to get involved in and we enjoyed working with the client throughout. Law Works matters in general are challenging learning opportunities and also an excellent way to give something back. The service and assistance that we provide to all of the various charities involved is so important and the fact that we can give them our time at no cost means a great deal to the individuals affected.
My top tip to bear in mind when taking on a Law Works matter is to treat it as any other fee earning work!