Life at a Law Firm through the Lens of a 16-year-old IB student
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“Law firm”; the first thing that comes into my mind are stacks of paperwork, people in suits, arguments being practised aloud, phones ringing on an infinite loop; a very chaotic environment with a breathtaking view. One might think of lawyers as “intimidating” or “intense” just like on television. After my experience, I can tell that this is all a stereotype.
On my first day, I was nervous and excited, waiting outside the front door sweating profusely (even though it was a little cold outside). Upon entering the office, I received a very friendly welcome from the receptionist Catherine. As the day continued, I received an introduction to the workplace as well as all to the rules and regulations that went along with it. I vividly remember the first lunchtime, I took out my sandwich on my desk and Ravenscroft & Schmierer’s Vanisha and Saajandeep welcomed me with open arms and invited me to eat with them and the rest of the staff. They helped me feel comfortable and created a very warm and friendly environment.
My short time at Ravenscroft & Schmierer allowed me to be open-minded, as I became more welcoming to opposing ideas in order to think critically and rationally. I became very observant and understood the work that was put in behind the scenes.
During my time with the firm, I got a variety of tasks from researching to helping with cases that were pending, reading cases as well as creating a presentation about the following question I was asked. During one lunchtime I was sitting with all my colleagues and Michael, one of the associates, asked me “if you enter an antique store that sells valuable goods and a sign says, if you break it you must buy it, and then you break something - what do you do?” He then requested me to make a presentation about my point of view and how I would approach this question. This made me think from different perspectives and find different angles in how to answer this question. When I initially heard this question, the first response that rushed to my mind was “yes” as I felt it was your moral obligation and the ethical decision. I conducted research on what the elements of a contract were and related them to the case study. My research helped me reach the question “if you are entering the store are you signing the contract in theory?” After further consideration, my answer to this question was yes, as it is one’s choice to enter the store fully aware of the conditions set. Therefore, by proceeding to enter the store implies that one is aware of and agrees to the terms set by the company. Furthermore, the presentation made me explore an enticing way of presenting my idea and proving my theory.
My first task here made me fully understand the amount of time and effort that are put into cases. I started with a brief and a simple email about the issue at hand. Then I conducted research, found similarities or an angle that could help the client win the case. In the course of the research, I started by asking myself a series of questions. What would be the next step in the future for the client? Is the reason justifiable? Are there any cases with similar facts? If so, what are they and what were the outcomes in those cases? These questions assisted in my research as they guided me towards the relevant knowledge. I found this fascinating as it allowed me to indirectly meet new people, hear their stories and impact their lives in a positive aspect. This is because the research I gathered may save a client’s job and allow them to maintain a good standard of living for their family.
Unquestionably, the part that appealed to me the most was reading, because I was able to learn about mistakes in the past that we could avoid remaking. During my time at Ravenscroft & Schmierer, I was handed several cases from previous years or ongoing ones. These cases all came from a variety of specialisations in law, such as criminal law, corporate law and civil rights law.
Overall, I am filled with gratitude towards Ravenscroft & Schmierer for providing an astonishing opportunity along with taking the time and effort to broaden my understanding within the legal field. This experience challenged me to overcome my weaknesses, gave me the ability to push myself in public speaking and gave me a better understanding of life that I could have never grasped in a classroom environment. It was my pleasure to be part of such an incredible journey and create memories that will forever stay with me.
Aayesha is currently a student at King George V School in Hong Kong and visited Ravenscroft & Schmierer in late October 2021.