Prior to starting work, I had heard that no two days working in litigation were the same. In fact, my first week has shown that matters do not only develop day to day, but that each hour and even minute can be different.
Since studying Conflict and Dispute Resolution during my Erasmus exchange at the University of Amsterdam, litigation has been an area of law I have wanted to explore. For this reason, when I finished the Graduate Diploma in Law, I knew that gaining practical experience in the sector would be a natural next step.
My first week as a Paralegal at Gardner Leader on the Dispute Resolution department has only confirmed this. It has been varied, fast-paced and hugely interesting. The week began with a brief tour of the firm followed by comprehensive IT training, understanding the IT systems to ensure that the work of Gardner Leader is streamlined and consistent. While this initially seemed a lot of information to take in, detailed worksheets and one-on-one training allowed me to address any queries and get to grips with the intricacies of the system.
This gave me a strong basis to join the Litigation department on my third day at the firm. With one case in the High Court and another in the Supreme Court, this has been a really exciting time to start. After being briefed on a Contested Probate case, I began by helping create a timeline of events. This allowed me to understand issues from the client’s perspective, and make informed decisions when helping with other matters of the case throughout the day.
I also drafted letters and deeds for Associates in Property Litigation and Commercial Litigation, allowing me to get involved in more cases and giving me a taste of important daily tasks of the Paralegal role. This variety of work meant that although my brain was packed full of information, I had had the opportunity to gain valuable insight into Gardner Leader’s three principal litigation areas by the end of my first day.
With this experience under my belt, the next day I felt more confident to tackle my work. This was certainly made easier by the huge support I felt within the team; ranging from the Senior Associate I share my office with, to the Team Leader, and other Paralegals and Assistants within the department. All of the team members ensured I fully understood the tasks put before me, and made me feel comfortable to ask for clarification and feedback.
One of the elements that had initially attracted to me to Gardner Leader was the approachability of the firm, and I have definitely found that to be true so far. Over the next two days I was invited to lunch with part of the department and introduced personally to members of staff across the whole firm in Newbury. This allowed me not only to put faces to names, but to also feel part of Gardner Leader and its work.
The week was rounded off meeting clients, drafting more letters and helping with bundling for an upcoming case. This variety of work kept me on my toes and meant that I was able to work closely with a range of members of the Dispute Resolution team. It also meant that by the end of the week I felt more acquainted with the work of the firm and members of staff across Gardner Leader.
My first week at Gardner Leader has rushed past, but the friendliness of those around me has made me feel settled since the moment I arrived. I am looking forward to continue learning and to get more involved with the varied work of the firm, including participating in CSR activities. I am sure that there are more busy and exciting times ahead!