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Graduate Recruitment

Easing my first seat nerves

I have only just begun my first seat within the Personal Injury and Clinical Negligence department and, despite being an anxious first-seater, I have already been given plenty of opportunities to get involved in quality pieces of work.

The team here are lovely - they really have done their best to help ease my first seat nerves, and I have found that arriving slightly early means you can speak to everyone a little before they get their heads down to concentrate on their busy workloads.

Today at 10am I was scheduled to attend a telephone conference with Counsel alongside one of the partners, so I used the first hour of the day to go through the file and familiarise myself with the case. The call was to discuss whether the client should accept an offer of settlement they had received. The matter is due to go to trial in a few weeks time and it would be ideal if the matter could be settled before then. During the call, Counsel advised on the offer the client had received, managed the client's expectations as to the litigation risk ahead and discussed a tactical counter-offer which was very interesting! By the end of the call we had confirmed that the client would be rejecting the offer and the level of the counter-offer they would be submitting in return.

Afterwards, I diarised a reminder to dictate my note of the conference before the end of the week. I was then approached by another member of the team who asked me if I would be happy to attend an inquest with the client. I agreed and also made a note of the date in my diary, which is already beginning to look rather full.

On starting, each trainee is given a trainee mentor; a partner in the firm with whom who you can speak in confidence whenever you need to. Today I met my mentor for a catch up, so we went to the Copthorne for lunchtime sandwiches; normally I would meet the other trainees for lunch in the atrium.

During the afternoon a clinical negligence case was getting close to its limitation date, so it was time to issue proceedings. I drafted the Claim Form, the Particulars of Claim and the covering letter to the Court. I will need to travel to Court to issue the documents tomorrow. After this, a witness statement I drafted for a client who had been injured in a recent road traffic accident was approved, so I sent the statement to the client, asking them to call me to discuss the contents. I diarised a note to remind me if they had not come back to me by this time next week.

Since starting at Higgs, I have discovered that there are always plenty of opportunities to get involved in both internal and external events. After three weeks, I have already had the opportunity to go on an informal hen do, visit the golf driving range, get involved with the office yoga sessions and atten the Future Faces Awards in Birmingham. Tonight, I will play in a BTSS netball tournament. I have not played netball in a while but the current team members are very supportive, plus I figured it will be a good way to meet a few faces before the first BTSS social on Friday!

Written by Sian Marks

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