I am a second year History student at The University of York and in August 2011 I had the fantastic opportunity to undertake work experience with Major Family Law.

As soon as I arrived I felt welcome and engaged. I was introduced to Avril, an office administrator, who guided me through the daily administration tasks. Thanks to Avril’s brilliant direction, I quickly learnt how to greet clients, sort the post, organise files, copy, type up documents and much more. Having the opportunity to be a part of the hub of Major Family Law taught me the importance of time management, client care and organisation.

Joanne Major had arranged for me to undertake a range of activities, which introduced me to the legal aspects of the practice. On my first day I sat in with Rebecca Tarn and one of her clients. It was a first meeting with a client, in which Rebecca gained information and talked through possible future action. It was great to see how the processes begin in family law and the different avenues that are available to people wanting divorce or financial agreements. During the rest of the week I was able to sit in on over 5 meetings. Each meeting was different and at varying stages in regards to court proceedings and such. This allowed me to fully understand the procedures involved. It taught me that family law is as much about caring for your client in times of need as it is about legal matters.

As well as meetings and administration duties I was set the task of completing a draft divorce application. I read parts of a family law textbook and asked for advice. In the end I completed it to a good standard and proved that I had really learnt a lot from my week. After finishing this task I was set off to do some research. I searched various internet sites and looked through textbooks to collect information that was relevant to the case. I found that recent case law was both interesting and helpful.

I was also given the chance to contribute to the marketing of the practice. I recognised that the testimonials folder, although full of success, needed reorganising in order to reflect the quality of Major Family Law. I worked on it throughout the week and by the end I felt that it allowed potential clients to see the overwhelming success and passion that this practice has to offer.

My last experience of the week was to go to court with Rebecca. I was very excited to see how the family courts work, as I have only visited the criminal courts before. I was surprised at how different the environment felt, in that it was much more relaxed. When we arrived at the courts I was able to meet Rebecca’s client and heard the case being considered. I was allowed to sit in on a meeting, which saw both sides of the case negotiating for a better and swifter outcome. I learnt a lot from my day at court but mostly that negotiation is a key aspect of this legal area.

By the end of the week I had gained enough confidence and knowledge to feel like a true member of the team. I got to experience every aspect and tackle challenges hands on. It was fulfilling, challenging and most importantly it made me realise that family law is something that not only interests me but also suits my skills and personality.

I am very thankful to Major Family Law for providing me with this important stepping stone in my career.