Benefits of a placement – Emma Baker, Cartwright King

Benefits of a placement – Emma Baker, Cartwright King

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The initial decision to study law came when faced with choosing my A-level options. I was confronted with a whole range of new possibilities and decided to take a broad range of subjects to keep my options open. It soon became apparent that law was going to be the most interesting subject and there was then little doubt in my mind that this would be my study choice at university. The main decision was which city to inflict my north eastern accent upon.


After reading various prospectuses and attending numerous open days there was one university and one course which stood way out from the rest, the LLB sandwich at Nottingham Trent University. NTU offered the opportunity to gain a Qualifying Law Degree with the added potential benefit of a year of practical work experience in a leading law firm. This seemed to be the perfect course as legal work experience seems highly valuable but extremely difficult to gain. After gaining the necessary A-level grades I would complete first and second year as all full-time law students, the third year would be spent on placement and I would complete my final academic year following the placement.


As anticipated, studying law at university was never going to be an easy option. A lot of time, effort and dedication is required, however there were many opportunities for enjoyment too. One example was a university visit to The Hague at the end of the first year of study, which coincided with the Netherlands reaching the final of the World Cup, an atmosphere that I will never forget. Another pivotal point was being offered my placement at Cartwright King Solicitors which commenced in September 2011. During my time within the criminal defence department I was entrusted with a variety of tasks and given responsibility right from the outset, which meant I had to adapt quickly to my new environment. The majority of time was spent completing legal aid forms with clients and aiding the solicitors in preparation for trials. This would involve meeting the clients and documenting their version of events and comments on witness statements.  Occasionally I would also clerk trials and client conferences for barristers. Time was also spent within family law, this was beneficial as it enabled me to compare and contrast the departments and how the work differed in each.

This placement has been invaluable for gaining hands-on experience with clients and it also provides opportunities to prove yourself in real situations.

It also greatly improves team working skills. Fortunately an opportunity arose to attend an interview for a training contract whilst working, which proved to be successful and I have re-joined  the firm as a trainee solicitor whilst completing the LPC on a part time basis.


Choosing to study law has been one of my best decisions, but undertaking a placement has been an equally important part of the path to my ultimate career goal. My future aspirations are to become a fully-qualified solicitor, excelling in my chosen seat and if you are reading this is in 2016 I hopefully will be there!


Emma Barker is currently at Cartwright King Solicitors

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