Milners Solicitors built on its strong ties with Leeds Beckett University this academic year with sponsorship of the Award for Commercial Dispute Resolution on the university’s Legal Practice Course.
Part of the prize for the award winner was a week’s work experience at our Whitehall Waterfront, Leeds office. With practical experience such an important criteria in securing a first role in the legal industry, work experience is an invaluable asset to add to a CV.
The 2015 Award went to Jody Waldron, who, at the same time as working a day job as a managing quantity surveyor, achieved the highest marks in the Commercial Dispute Resolution module, and we have been delighted to welcome Jody into the office with us this week.
We asked Jody to tell us a bit about himself and his experiences….
My week at Milners – Jody Waldron
I began my career in the construction industry as a trainee quantity surveyor in 1999 and over the last 15 years I have progressed to my current position as a managing quantity surveyor with Lovell Partnerships Limited. During this period I have also achieved chartered status by gaining membership to the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors. As my career progressed I began to encounter aspects of the legal profession on an increasingly frequent basis and started to gain a keen interest in specific practice areas such as corporate law, commercial law and commercial dispute resolution.
Beginning the Journey
This prompted me to reassess my career aspirations and around 5 years ago I made the decision to pursue my ambition and begin the transition into the legal profession and build a career as a solicitor. This meant going back to university!
I attended a number of open days, and after much deliberation I decided to take both my Post Graduate Diploma in Law and the Legal Practice Course at Leeds Beckett University. A deciding factor was that Leeds is the largest legal centre in the UK, outside of London, and I was hopeful that during my time there I would be able to build relationships which would assist me in securing a training contract in the future – the fact that the teaching days fell on weekday evenings rather than the weekends had no bearing at all!
After 4 intense and emotional years studying alongside my day job as a managing quantity surveyor, I graduated with distinction from both my GDL and LPC, which meant only thing – I now needed to make all the hard work worthwhile and secure a training contract.
Broadening my CV
A big gap in my experience was a lack of any time spent in a genuine legal environment, so I was thrilled when I received notification that I had won the Milners Prize for Commercial Dispute Resolution. The prize was in recognition of achieving the highest mark in the Commercial Dispute Resolution module during my LPC finals. As well as a rare photo opportunity for my parents, part of the prize was a week’s work experience at Milners Solicitors.
First Day Nerves
I set out on my commute from my home town of Belper at around 7am to ensure that I would arrive in plenty of time to make my introductory meeting with Victoria Barraclough. Following a relatively quiet trip up the M1 and successfully negotiating the temporary speed limits, the nerves started to surface. After all I have only ever experienced two previous first days – once at the cooperative supermarket in Belper where I was a shelf filler (or stock replenishment manager as I used to refer to it) and of course with my current employer, and both were over 15 years ago!
After an unintended tour of the carpark and building, or getting lost as it is more commonly referred to as, I arrived at Milners impressive new premises at Whitehall Waterfront in Leeds. After being introduced to the Milners teams I instantly relaxed and began to enjoy the experience. It was immediately clear just how friendly and supportive the culture at Milners is and how much importance they place on their clients and the quality of service they provide.
Victoria prepared a structure for the week where I would get the opportunity to experience a number of different specialism areas, including; commercial and residential property, private client, marketing, personal injury, employment and corporate. The week has been a whirlwind of reviewing and drafting documentation, meetings and legal research. I have really enjoyed my time at Milners and cannot emphasise enough the value of this type of experience. Whilst providing first-hand experience of the kind of legal work you will be required to undertake as a trainee it also gives a true insight into the culture of the firm your chosen firm – now if they would only offer me a training contract!