I am a law student from India, in my penultimate year at the National University of Juridical Sciences, Kolkata. It’s a well reputed college all over the world but even then, it is extremely difficult for a student from India to have the privileged opportunity to gain work experience abroad due to a multitude of reasons ranging from work permits, visa etc. I am fortunate enough to be a British national and hence took the leap of faith to apply to firms in the U.K.
Through an uncle, I got to know about Woodfines and decided it was a good idea to start there as it is in a small yet beautiful town (Cambridge) and I presumed I would have a better chance at gaining something here as opposed to going to a larger firm in a bigger city like London. I applied to the firm and got a prompt response to begin my internship in the month of October.
I was very excited and scared simultaneously, as working in a completely new environment and place can get intimidating at times. Anyway, I reached Cambridge on a weekend, scheduled to begin my internship on a Monday. I ironed my shirt and took out my favourite tie to make a good impression on my first day. The first day is usually always the scariest and one is usually very nervous, as was I.
However when I arrived at the front desk I was greeted with a welcoming smile by Emily, the receptionist, who seemed really happy to see me. I then met with Karl Dembicki who was my mentor for the first week. He was very kind and took me around the office to introduce me to everyone at the firm. To my surprise, everyone was extremely hospitable and made me feel very comfortable instantly. I felt that I belonged there, even though I had just arrived.
Through the course of my day and the following weeks, I worked in different departments such as Private Client which included probate matters and claims in cases of intestacy. I really enjoyed working on everything I got my hands on, more so because of the kind of guidance I got from my fellow associates and trainees. I did not feel inferior as merely a student who had come to gain work experience and felt a part of every team I worked with.
The firm culture was highly flexible and I was given the freedom to take work from anyone I could which allowed me to broaden my avenues to a great extent. Ranging from shareholder dispute matters to tax matters, I did not leave anything that came my way. I just wanted to take in as much as I could in the time I had, and this firm was the best place for it. Everyone was extremely patient and cooperative with me and therefore I did not hesitate to approach anyone for anything that I needed. Mr. Oliver, who is a partner at the firm, gave me the opportunity to attend conferences with barristers and sit in on both client and management meetings as well. This was a very new experience for me as in India, interns are not given such unique opportunities. I learnt a lot from them and I feel it really boosted my confidence to a different level.
As I write this blog, I feel ecstatic since I will be going to attend my first court hearing tomorrow with Counsel at the Court in London. I never thought I would be given so much to do and bestowed with so many responsibilities. I really felt I had a purpose and looked forward to every single day of work to the extent that I came into work at 8:30 am everyday, albeit office hours are from 9am. I loved to start my day early with the smiling faces of my associates who greeted me with so much warmth and respect. Besides work, my fellow colleagues took me out on multiple occasions for an occasional pint at really old and beautiful pubs and restaurants. I truly established a bond with everyone there and feel that I will definitely come back if I get a chance in the future. Woodfines has truly been a spectacular experience and I would recommend anyone looking to truly learn from the best to come work here. It has truly shaped me in the best of ways and I am thankful to them for making these two weeks the most memorable of my life.