Friday, 15 March 2013

The Last Three Months

My darling beloved readers,

Hello and how are you?

I realise that I have disappeared from here for the past three months but all for a good reason. I have missed writing these blogs so much. Writing this and sharing my journey with you always gives me immense pleasure. So you may be wondering where on earth have I been and what have I been doing with myself? So let me tell you. When exams were over I truly believed that I would fail and have to retake again but fortunately the stars were shining down on me and I passed J (*woooo hooooo) So when I found out about passing I realised that now was the time to buckle down and begin hunting for a real job in the big outside world and let me tell you now as you already probably know that is no easy feat. Finding a job, applying and then securing a job is one of the toughest things ever. Some people don’t want you because you are too young and inexperienced and other people don’t want you because you are over qualified with your fabulous degree. Most likely those that do want you just want free labour out of you but not all of us can do this. How is one meant to pay bills, rent, food, travel etc working for free? On the other hand if one lands a really good work experience/internship the benefits are immense.

After graduation I was approached by the Graduate Internship Programme. This consisted of five training days and then was secured by a month of internship with an organisation in your chosen field. At the time of applying for this I had also come across another advert which was more local to me but for a period of three months within a law field. Both were voluntary positions. No other applications I had made for paid work had been successful and this was mainly down to me being lacking in experience, so with no other alternative options I began looking at voluntary work. Even applying for retail positions I would be rejected due to my degree. So coming back to my two options I decided to apply for the three month internship and see where fate would take me. Luckily the law firm I applied to offered me an interview the day after the Graduate Internship started so to keep my options I went to GIP and in all honesty I was not very impressed with some of the things I was hearing and on top of that they could not even confirm with me that I would be placed within a law field. I thought it would be best to wait and see what would happen at the interview with the law firm.

The next day I went to the interview which was relatively relaxed. It is a small and young firm. After a ten-fifteen minute chat I was given a tour of the building and went on my merry way being informed that they would get in touch with me to inform me whether or not I had been successful. Surely enough within two days I was contacted and told that I start on Monday at ten. I faced a dilemma whether or not to go for the GIP which was a shorter period of internship or take a risk and give up three months to work for free within a real law firm that was conveniently local. After a great debate I decided to take the plunge and commit to the three months.

It has now been more than three months and it has been such an experience nothing I have ever done can come to this. I have loved every single minute of it! There have been plenty of times where there has been office drama but hey no matter where you go you will always face such nonsense. People will gossip and complain and twist things to make other people look bad or to make themselves look better. People will be masked in a sheep’s clothing whilst inside they are really a wolf. But as you know my darlings that is life and I have experienced a lot of this type of nonsense. I share my journey with you so that I can inspire and advise.

Despite the silly gossiping/moany people it really has been wonderful. At this firm I have learnt so much. I have been trained right from scratch and also thrown into the deep end but learnt to swim and survive quickly and as you all know I am a survivor. Now in my fourth month I have taken on my own cases and have also be given a full time working contract. There is a lot to learn but the wonderful thing about is that everything you learn you put into practise  But this is not as easy as you think. Procedures take ages, gathering evidence and case files and dossiers take ages. Furthermore, having clients constantly on your back wanting an update all the time is hard work more so when you have them lying to you about what is happening on their side.

So you’re probably wondering where it is I've landed this fabulous internship, well, the firm is called Nieko Solicitors, and yours truly (Me – that is) is learning all about prison law. Fun stuff! It is probably more difficult doing this than having done the LLB. Learning whilst on the job is tough. Mistakes will be made, and the work will take long because the majority of time you are lost in a world of paperwork and procedure. The first three months were ok, it was easy learning and straight forward but as time goes on and we enter the next phase of work which includes investigations, written representations and a tonne of procedure it becomes more and more confusing. But like I always say nothing is ever easy and hopefully in time the procedures will become clearer. Working in a close knit environment is not easy with some people only out for themselves. This makes learning a difficult task indeed. Prison law is not exactly what I had in mind when I graduated. I had applied to many teaching assistant positions to embark on a teaching career but all to no avail. Teaching and mentoring whilst I was a Student Ambassador was extremely rewarding. This particular field I have now found myself in is not that rewarding. The cases, the clients are exactly what you’d imagine them to be. It is everything you read and hear on the news. It is dark, threatening, dismal, horrific and one must have a skin made out of rubber to withstand all the information one receives.

The timescale to learn is short, you must be quick thinking and even quicker to put things into action. I am surrounded by fellow colleagues who have done their LPC and completed the Bar and to be honest compared to them I just feel dumb and inadequate to do the job. Now how many times have you heard that one before? Learning procedure is not something they teach you on your degree it is something you have to research and learn all by yourself. Like everything else it is not easy but anything that is difficult requires that extra bit of effort.

There are no coffee making moments here, there are of course routine photocopying, faxing etc but that is a minuscule part of the job. Undertaking fee earning work has great benefits, I have my own clients and I am embarking on specialising within specific areas of prison law. For me this has been a once in a lifetime opportunity. I can say confidently that no other work experience has given me such a vast amount of knowledge, such responsibility in such a short amount of time.

Best of luck everyone xxx