Punch Robson’s Prize Winning Student Lawyer

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This week we caught up with Jessica Inman, student of Law at Teesside University to hear how work experience and the award of a bursary is helping her studies.

First of all Jess, tell us more about the Bursary you were awarded by the Firm.

I am one of a group of students who applied and were accepted into the Law Clinic run by Teesside University.  The Law Clinic provides free legal advice and representation to members of the local community and is staffed by final year law students (with a lot of help and support from our tutors and local law firms).  This year Punch Robson provided a bursary to allow one student to start their work at the Law Clinic in September rather than October and I was lucky enough to be selected.

So you were able to start work at the Law Clinic a month early – how was that?

For me, it was great, as I was able to get stuck in and start learning before everyone else.  It is very daunting as you are being thrown in at the deep end, but I had a lot of support and by the time the other students arrived I was well on with my first case.  This really helped build my confidence.  And for the client whose case I took, it meant that she didn’t have to wait until October and got the representation she needed quickly.

At the same time as supporting your Law Clinic work, Punch Robson has offered you work experience.  How has it been?

Since November I’ve been coming into Punch Robson for a day per week and learning the ropes in each of the departments.  It’s been so valuable to see what it’s really like in a law firm, and has helped me get a much clearer idea about the kind of law I want to practice and the kind of lawyer I want to be.

What kind of things have you been doing as part of your work experience?

Each department has allowed me to look at some of their work and get some real world experience.  In the Litigation Department, Graham Tyler gave me some invaluable practice in completing some of the forms which are necessary to progress cases, and I learnt lessons which I’ve already been able to use in representing my Law Clinic clients.  When I spent time with the Corporate & Commercial department I was able to work together with one of the Solicitors on a Commercial Property case which gave me a really unique insight into that kind of work.   With the Family Law team, I got the chance to look through case files and then went to court twice with Solicitor Sarah Bailes.  It was amazing to see how she dealt with the clients who were obviously really distressed.

How has work experienced impacted on your plans following University?

I’m now really clear that Family Law is the area I’d like to work in.  I felt I could understand quickly what was needed to support the client and it is obviously such an important area of the law.

 What’s your background Jess, and what brought you to study at Teesside University?

I’m a local girl – I’m from Stockton and I went to Eaglescliffe School from the age of 11 all the way through to the end of year 13.  It was important to me to go to a good University locally as I didn’t want to leave home, so Teesside University was perfect.  For my A levels I studied Politics, History, Philosophy & Ethics and English Language and I was really pleased to do even better than I expected and get accepted onto a Law course.

You graduate this year Jess – what are your plans?

I’m still deciding whether to go straight into the next phase of qualifying to be a Solicitor or whether to take my time and perhaps gain more work experience.  Thankfully, I still have some time to consider my options, and the great news is that I have good links with the Solicitors at Punch Robson to get their advice too.

For more information regarding Punch Robson’s Bursary Award at the Teesside University please contact Elaine McLaine.  For more information regarding work experience at Punch Robson please keep an eye on our website, Twitter, LinkedIn or Facebook pages as we hope to share an announcement in early 2016.

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