10 University of Brighton law students spend the day with Gerard Maye Legal
Ten second year University of Brighton law students were delighted to have the opportunity to spend a day with the team at Gerard Maye Legal, where they experienced a day in the life of a law firm. The unanimous verdict was that the day provided a unique insight into the profession and we are very grateful to Gerard Maye Legal, who also sponsor the university’s annual Client Interviewing Skills competition. Here two of the students reflect on the day:
“The day was structured with a variety of talks and activities which provided a new perspective on the legal profession from the inside. The prospect of becoming a qualified solicitor seems rather daunting in theory, however it was interesting to hear about the back stories of various lawyers in reality and it has given me a lot to think about with regards my own career.
After spending time in the courts in the morning and reflecting on what we had seen there, we were separated into two groups and given instructions for a legal adviser and a disclosure document which gave information surrounding the arrest of a fictitious client; documents that a criminal defence solicitor may expect before speaking with their client. We each assumed a different role and performed a role play which gave us an insight into what would happen in a typical scenario.
Later in the day, Gerard Maye provided us with invaluable advice for building our CVs including what to have in mind while writing and how to make it more attractive. Information like this is extremely useful for students, especially when it comes directly from professional lawyers with decades of experience. Overall, the day was a great experience and just the sort of thing that aspiring lawyers should take part in as it plays an important role in deciding which route to take in the future.”
Ryan Watts, LLB Law with Business
“Gerard Maye Legal offered a work experience day for ten LLB Law students at Brighton University, providing us with a unique insight to the day-to-day workings and practices at a legal firm. This taster day provided an excellent opportunity for us to gain experience and a further insight into Criminal Defence and Civil Litigation. This experience will inevitably improve our employability and also provided us with extra subject knowledge within Law. Personally speaking today was the first time I have ever been able to apply the knowledge and skills I have acquired at university and put it into practice; we were involved in a teamwork exercise under a short time frame, which mirrored a real police interview scenario.
On arrival, we were briefed about the agenda for the day; this included visiting both the Magistrates and Crown court and also talks with some of the senior solicitors from Gerard Maye’s firm. We heard a range of cases, including GBH and drug-related offences. I found the process very intimidating, especially the idea that I was witnessing these trials in real life, as opposed to TV representation such as Judge Rinder. On reflection, this in itself has been eye opening in terms of showing me what real courtroom etiquette is like.
After the courtroom experience, we got to meet some of the solicitors working at Gerard Maye personally, including James Warren, who specialises as a solicitor in criminal cases, and John Searby, who specialises in civil litigation. Both James and John provided us with considerable insight into the law and added context to what we were learning at university, explaining how it can be put into practice.
Gerard Maye himself ran a ‘CV and interview clinic’, which provided us with vital information on how to present ourselves on paper and make ourselves look more noticeable to prospective employers, but also how to respond to challenging interview questions. This key knowledge from Gerard and his colleagues will be extremely useful for the years ahead for us as we venture into the legal world.
Overall, Gerard Maye’s taster day provided us with an amazing experience, giving us insight into day-to-day legal activities, which is highly likely to help us later on in our search for jobs. I can safely say that my fellow students and I are extremely thankful for the valuable time Gerard and his colleagues gave up in order to make this a positive success.”
Thomas Bunce, LLB Law with Criminology