My Placement Year at a Criminal Law firm: Bhatia Best S...

My Placement Year at a Criminal Law firm: Bhatia Best Solicitors

Anthony Cheung legal placement non-featured

Anthony Cheung, LLB (Hons) Law (Sandwich)

Initially, I took a year out on placement to expand my understanding of my degree. We are always told that the theories we learn in university do not always directly reflect that of the real world. Therefore, I felt that a placement year will teach me the skills I needed to be successful in my professional career and in the classroom.

The NLS Employability team were great during my search for a placement. The wealth of knowledge and support provided by the team assisted my search and decision substantially. Moreover, the chance to have a one-on-one mock interview with the employability team gave me an insight to what to expect in my interview.

I chose to work for Bhatia Best Solicitors because they predominately worked in criminal law. Additionally, as a highly regarded law firm in Nottingham, I knew there were several opportunities to work on serious cases at the Crown Court and to observe a high standard of advocacy whilst I attended court.

A key skill that I developed in my placement, which will increase my graduate employability, is the ability to speak with people of all upbringings. Whilst working for a criminal law firm, I came into contact with people from various backgrounds; learning to speak in the correct manner and being empathetic at times allowed for greater rapport to be built. This skill is fundamental, especially when the legal sector relies heavily on human interaction.

My academic studies have benefited greatly from taking a placement year. I developed many practical skills such as being able to comprehend information quickly and accurately, the manner in which to speak, especially in court, and how to develop persuasive arguments. This was refined through observing compelling advocates and speaking to them after to understand their reasoning to their strategies. An example where these practical skills translated to my academic studies was in my Mooting module. I was able to adopt many of the techniques into my moots. I felt that consequently my arguments were made more persuasive.

Additionally, the placement made my modules more relatable. For example, in evidence law, I merged legal theories with my placement experiences to understand my subject more deeply. This was reflected in the way I engaged my tutors during seminars.

A placement may seem like a big investment of time for many students, but the skills and confidence one gains afterwards is invaluable. A year of experience is highly regarded by many employers and for good reasons. There are experiences to draw on which cannot be attained in a university environment. I highly recommend all aspiring lawyers to grasp the opportunity if offered.

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