On Secondment: a day in the life of a Cripps trainee
This week the Cripps trainee blog caught up with Elizabeth Robertson, a first year trainee in the Real Estate division. Read on to find out more about her experiences as a trainee on secondment.
What is a secondment?
Before I started my legal career, I don’t think I knew what the word “secondment” meant and so I certainly didn’t imagine I would be doing one during my training contract. A secondment is a temporary transfer to another role either within your own business (perhaps internationally if your firm has an international presence) or to a whole new company entirely.
I am currently on a three-month secondment to one of the largest real estate investment companies in the UK, with divisions all over the world. They are a long-term client of ours, and in fact, the first matter I ever dealt with at Cripps when I started as a paralegal back in 2015 was for this very client.
I arrive at my new office, which is actually not too far from Cripps’ new London base in the heart of the city. I am taken around the office to meet everyone and to get my bearings. Everyone is very welcoming and friendly – and already, I feel like part of the team.
Some names and faces I am already familiar with, as I have come across them whilst working for this client at Cripps. This helps make me feel at home.
I then sit down with my supervisor, a funds and investments lawyer by trade, who gives me some background to the company, as well as a brief introduction to how funds operate. Cripps acts for several property investment companies who invest in real estate via various funds, so I take note for future reference. This will definitely help me understand my clients’ businesses better and gives me context as to the underlying purpose of the deals we are instructed on.
What am I up to?
Whilst this is considered a real estate secondment, the in-house lawyers I am sitting with are dealing with a wide range of commercial matters. Day to day I am reviewing and agreeing non-disclosure agreements, service contracts and freedom of information requests. As the company has offices across the world, I am also being asked to deal with international matters which is presenting me with new and interesting jurisdiction issues that I have not come across before.
Making the most of the opportunity
Seeing legal matters from the client’s perspective is the best thing about a secondment. You gain insights into what is expected from legal advisers, where value lies and importantly I’m building relationships with people I may potentially be working with in the future.
If you are ever presented with an opportunity to go on a secondment, whatever industry you end up in, I highly recommend you go for it. The insight and personal development you gain from the experience is invaluable, and I will certainly be taking forward and putting into practice what I have learned to make myself a better lawyer.