Jamie-Rose Baker

My internship at MPR Solicitors LLP
University of Surrey Undergraduate Intern 2013

Jamie-Rose BakerMy interview for the internship role at MPR Solicitors was very enlightening. At the end, I asked ‘If I were to be taken on, what would impress you?’ I knew that I was on to something when the answer was ‘Cake’. As someone who does not take myself too seriously, I was definitely keen to work with a firm with a sense of humour and personality.

At the time of starting my internship, there was a lot going on in the world of criminal legal aid. During my induction, it was explained to me how the firm would have to adapt with these changes. Although unfortunate for the criminal legal aid profession, it has been interesting for me to see how a law firm must adapt how it operates as a business through these changing times.

The kind of work that I do varies daily. I spend a lot of time on the phone chasing clients, the CPS or the police. It is more than a little frustrating when you have a list of people to chase, and not one of them is answering the phone or responding to emails. Nevertheless, this is all part of the job. I also spend time scheduling large amounts of information for larger cases. This enables you to learn which details are key in a case, which is especially important when there are 8 lever arch files of witness statements and exhibits for counsel to go through. I am encouraged to look up the law on each case and then discuss it with the fee earner who has conduct of that case.

A placement at MPR is very much about learning. I have found everyone here to be very keen in allowing me to attend Court hearings on cases that I have been working on. I have even been to the Royal Courts of Justice to watch an appeal. Usually if I ask to attend something, it is no problem. I have also shadowed the Firm’s family law solicitor in client meetings and have attended proceedings in the County Court.

I have gained an invaluable insight in the differences between Legal Aid and privately funded cases as the Firm does not undertake Legal Aid family law work. The other areas of legal practice I have experienced at MPR are licensing cases, employment law and civil litigation.

One of the main benefits of a placement at MPR is that it is a small firm. This means that my level of responsibility is much higher than it would be in a large firm, where I would probably never meet a client. On average, I see 3 or 4 clients a week. In the office, I often have appointments with clients to help with the case and go through certain documents with them . This would always be planned and I will always have the benefit of a solicitor who will supervise.  Prison visits may be arranged for me to go and see clients and to provide them with case papers. I will attend Court with clients and counsel in order to watch proceedings and assist where possible. Counsel are always happy to talk you through what’s happening and will often ask for an opinion.

Overall, my placement at MPR has been very enjoyable. Out of all the areas of law that the Firm undertakes, criminal law is the most  fascinating area to work in, and our clients always have something interesting to say. Every single case is different. This means that there is never a dull moment. I would recommend a placement year with MPR to anyone with an interest in crime, although I believe that it is teaching me transferable skills that are valued in many other areas of law.