Course studied: BA (Hons) Business and Management
Graduating year: 2020
Placement: Corporate Legal Assistant at Royds Withy King
Professional Placement Year
Why did you choose to undertake a PPY?
I chose to undertake a PPY as I not only strive to develop academically but also professionally. There's no better opportunity than working for 12 months in a professional environment in order to develop new – and build on existing – skills.
This experience is invaluable, especially for future job prospects. I saw an opportunity to gain exposure, working alongside industry professionals who have now become part of my network.
What does your role entail?
I'm tasked with performing clerical and administrative work. This requires knowledge of legal terms, documents and procedures to serve clients and help colleagues.
Describe a typical day on your placement
Days at Royds Withy King (RWK) vary. Some involve large amounts of in-house tasks, with various administrative and financial duties. These may include internal and external call handling, team meetings, training sessions and file management, with the additional responsibility of producing client bills on a monthly basis.
Other days involve more client-related duties, dealing with existing matters or taking on new enquiries.
As the corporate department is expanding and new instructions are taken on a regular basis, so extensive research into different industries, sectors and the relevant law is also needed.
Finally, company filings are also made on completion of various matters.
How did you find and secure your placement?
The journey was tough! I can quite confidently say it was also one of the longest in my year group, with me securing my placement a mere ten days before the cut-off point.
As I wasn’t quite sure what business sector I wanted to work in, I applied to a range of placements in the first half of the academic year.
After discussing my ambitions and desires with the placements team, I was able to gain more guidance and find local opportunities suited to my professional development. Persistence and resilience were key: I applied for around 30 placement schemes to only get one offer from my last application. However, in the grand scheme of things, I can say this journey was worth it, as I’ve thoroughly enjoyed working for RWK!
What have been the best and most challenging aspects of your placement?
The invaluable experience and transferable skills that I’ve gained have been extremely worthwhile. Being able to do this in the biggest law firm in Bath has also been eye-opening – I've been exposed to a new industry.
While this has given me an insight into a career as a corporate solicitor, it has also proven challenging at times. Coming from a business studies background, despite having an understanding of company structures, the various documents and terminology were entirely new to me. This at times meant I was out of my depth, but as a result I've gained confidence in dealing with various situations.
How has your placement been beneficial?
I’ve learned new skills, built relationships with industry professionals and gained insight into the various sectors of law. I've also been exposed to the roles of other career professionals. These insights into client servicing industries have been enlightening, and made me more confident in pursuing such a career.
RWK’s emphasis on its commercial offering within financial services has also been especially interesting – so much so that I plan to complete my business research project on the rapidly evolving financial technology industry.
How did the Professional Placement Year support your career aspirations?
This year has provided clarity over my future graduate job search. I've also been able to experience a new industry and learn the pathway to becoming a solicitor. From this, I now have a clearer outlook to completing my third year and the type of industry I want to enter.
Do you have any advice for students considering a PPY?
It can be a long process, so be as prepared as you can be from September onward – even earlier if possible – and make the most of the resources available to you!
The Placements team can provide you with tools and resources to make your search a lot more efficient. It’s also vital to tailor your CV and cover letters to the specific organisations and roles you apply to.
Aim high – this can be in terms of jobs and companies you're applying for, but also be aware that you can get just as fulfilling, if not more engaging, work within a smaller or more local company.
Finally, be resilient!