Flying by your seat
I can't believe we are already in December and I am three quarters of the way through my final four month seat! I am now well settled into the Dispute Resolution team, and relishing the daily challenges here.
The work in this team is as varied as it gets. There are three sub teams; Property Litigation, Commercial Litigation, and the new Contentious Probate team. Establishing a dedicated Probate team means that we now have specialist litigators to support our Private Client team, historically the bread and butter of the firm. Future trainees may get the opportunity to undertake a seat in this area as the team grows. and that there are real opportunities as the .
One highlight of the last month include attending a hearing in the First Tier Tax Tribunal before an engaged and charismatic judge who kept our barrister, a Queen's Counsel, on his toes. Watching Queen's Counsel in action is always a pleasure (one which all potential applicants can get a taste of by tuning into the live airing of the Supreme Court hearing about article 50!), especially when they are able to articulate complex taxation issues is a simple and coherent manner.
I have also had the opportunity to develop my drafting skills, writing letters before action and letters of complaint on areas varying from consumer rights to insolvency claims. As the law in Dispute Resolution is so varied, research tasks are a staple part of a trainee's typical workload. One task had me reminiscing about the days of law school revising overriding interests (some of what you learn at undergraduate level may actually come in handy in practice!) whilst on another occasion I got to delve into the infrequently used law of bailment (not the same as bail in the criminal sense).
Highlights outside of the office include the Wolverhampton Law Society's Annual Ball on 11 November 2016, at which comedian Rod Woodward had the hall in stitches, often at the expense of Wolverhampton City itself, and the BTSS Annual Dinner on 18 November 2016. The Higgs trainees and a number of junior lawyers had a wonderful time at this now staple event in the Midlands' legal calendar, and trainee Katy Boyce was particularly chuffed to win an almost life-sized poster of the late great David Bowie ( [can we pull the photo from twitter?]). This year was made all the better by the fact that two of our own trainees, Emma and Georgia, helped pull off this fabulous event at the Birmingham Town Hall- well done!
The last few weeks have also been busy from a CSR perspective. A number of the trainees and fee earners are involved in the Mosaic Enterprise Challenge (you can find out more about it here http://www.mosaicenterprisechallenge.co.uk). This project is designed to encourage entrepreneurship and inspire those students who are struggling with the academic career route. Whilst law has been and to an extent remains a very traditional career path, there are now a number of alternative methods to qualification for those committed enough, including CILEX and apprenticeships. There are dozens of teams in the Midland from various schools, only a handful of whom will progress to the regional finals at KPMG's offices in Birmingham so the competition is fierce!
It's clearly been a busy few months in and outside of the office, and the pressure is unlikely to ease in the run up to Christmas! I have a few weeks left in Dispute Resolution so will be using that time to gain as much experience as possible before moving seats again in January. On that note, back to my witness statement!
Written by Zahra Farooq