Each year, Lyons Davidson Bristol, in partnership with South Gloucestershire and Stroud College, take on a number of sixth formers to work during the summer holidays as part of the Career Academies scheme. Here, student Lisa Riley shares her experiences of working at Lyons Davidson.
I was so excited to start my first day of internship. After the interview process and competing against other candidates, I was very pleased to be offered the placement to work with Lyons Davidson Solicitors.
I was given the opportunity to work in three different departments of my choice over the six-week placement. As there are a number of departments, I’m sure you can imagine that this was a hard decision for me, as I’d had no experience in a law firm before my internship, so I couldn’t possibly tell which department I would be best suited to. This became the clear purpose of the internship. It allowed me to familiarise myself with what I wanted to specialise in within the law industry. Besides this, it helped me to develop my understanding of how the law actually works in practice and how it differs from academic law.
After the initial induction, I was taken to my first department, Claimant Personal Injury (Non-Motor). In this department, they deal with claims involving accidents in the workplace and on public and privately owned property. Although there is a statutory framework to follow, negligence is part of most claims. As I have commenced studying A-level law and have covered the basis of tort, the work I did with this department gave me a great insight into the world of personal injury law and the opportunity to apply and build upon my perspective of how the industry works.
My second department was Clinical Negligence. This area of law is about claiming compensation because of damage caused through the negligence of a medical professional. I found this ever so interesting, as every case was original and no injury ever the same. As I have an interest in medicine, this department was especially suited to me. Each case was very in depth and strengthened my knowledge about human anatomy and the types of procedures carried out by medical professionals. Seeing how the law overlapped with medicine was fascinating.
Finally, the third department I worked in was Civil Litigation. Lyons Davidson has a large Civil Litigation department, which offers help and advice in many areas of the law such as consumer contract, building disputes, professional negligence, boundary and neighbour disputes, and damage to property. The requirements of each client and each case will often vary but the primary aim is always to settle clients’ disputes quickly and cost-effectively. Throughout my time at the company, one thing I learnt is that it is always a better option to try and settle disputes outside of court – this is known as Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR). There are many forms of ADR, some of which are more formal than others. In many ways, negotiation in personal injury appeared more flexible than in Civil Litigation. Results in Civil Litigation appear more predictable: for example, if something is not stated in a contract then it can’t be used to claim liability or damages.
In most departments, I experienced working with clients who are currently going through some form of legal matter or dispute, so I had to pay particular attention to client care and empathising with their perspective.
In the six weeks, I was given numerous responsibilities, researched (e.g. quantum research), recorded and presented information, updated files and records, cross-checked data, was involved with database management, answering the phone and liaising with a wide range of contacts.
I also had the chance to visit court, shadowing advocates and barristers and meeting clients that the firm is currently working with. I watched a number of infant approval hearings and directions hearings. I also took part in team meetings, Risk Assessment Committee meetings (presenting a case file and following its consideration, and the formal assessment of whether or not it had reasonable prospects of success). This helped me to extend my self-confidence and to think like a lawyer! I was given important roles and responsibilities, and at the end of six weeks, I felt that my time spent with the company had been worthwhile. If an opportunity arose with Lyons Davidson again, I’d gladly grasp it! Through this experience I have developed numerous transferable skills, which I will carry throughout my future jobs.
Lyons Davidson has excellent staff members, who apply a great deal of enthusiasm and passion into their everyday work. It has been a great opportunity and experience to work with this national firm – it has definitely encouraged my interest in pursuing a career in law.