I undertook the Family Law module at the University of Nottingham during the final year of my studies. I thoroughly enjoyed the module which included learning about marriage, domestic violence, divorce and financial settlements upon relationship breakdown. Upon finding out my results I was also informed that I had obtained the highest mark in my academic cohort and that I had been awarded the John Hooper & Co Family Law Prize. I am proud of this incredible achievement and I believe that it is testament to my hard-work and dedication to my studies.
The prize, kindly sponsored by John Hooper & Co, consisted of a £200 cash award and a week’s work experience at the firm. I liaised with Senior Associate Solicitor Philippa Sanderson to organise when I would be able to visit the firm and I instantly felt welcome. I began my week with a tour of the office and I was introduced to each member of the team. Everyone was friendly and approachable and the open-door policy demonstrated to me that if I had any questions I should not hesitate to ask.
I was fortunate to gain a wide range of experience during my time visiting John Hooper & Co. I attended client meetings where I observed not only the procedural matters, such as client care, but also the substance of different issues and how to engage with clients on a professional yet personal level. This was an invaluable skill to learn and I hope to implement this into my own practice. I also had my first experience of typing up attendance notes using the transcription system and drafting letters. To ensure that I was completing work to the highest standard Philippa helpfully went through my drafting and explained to me any changes that she would recommend. As I was able to gain first-hand experience of tasks that a solicitor would complete, I believe I am now in a better position as I pursue my career in the legal profession.
I spent a couple of days completing a Form E for a client. This enabled me to practice a document that is frequently required to ensure full disclosure. I had a great amount of support to ensure that I was comfortable and that I understood how the work should be completed. I gained a great sense of satisfaction when I finished this task and I am proud that it will eventually be presented to the client. I accompanied Philippa to a court hearing in the Family Court in Nottingham. This was a unique experience and I was able to learn how to behave in court and how a court room functions. I believe that this illustrates how my work experience at John Hooper & Co was real exposure, working on real matters and learning valuable skills that I will continue to develop.
I was made to feel like a valued member of the team and each member of staff took the time to talk to me about their work. In particular, Associate Maria Coster explained her work in Child Law and gave me an overview of some of the matters that are frequently dealt with. The time I spent at John Hooper & Co was interesting, challenging and most of all I enjoyed going into the office to learn and spend time with the team.