Interview: Contract Law at Mills & Reeve
Having got the lowdown on a trainee's life at Mills & Reeve, we sat down with Inderpreet Heire again to get her thoughts on her current seat in Contract Law, and how it compared to some of the other seats she had completed through the course of her traineeship.
In just a few words, could you explain what exactly contract law entails?
The ability to understand a client’s business needs and ensure that their interests are protected by the legal documents.
What kind of projects have you been working on so far?
I have worked for both public and private sector clients whilst in this seat. I helped with a large procurement tender, where the team assisted in drawing up the procurement documents and drafting the supply agreement that was being put out to tender. I was involved with a further public sector client project in relation a concession agreement for the provision of English language tests.
I also assisted with work for universities and hospitals where there was a State Aid element; helping to prepare advice note on State Aid and its exemptions.
On the private sector side, I have drafted various collaboration agreements which have ranged from the provision of a nursery to the testing of technology at the International Space Station. And as is typically expected in a commercial seat; I saw a fair few supply agreements and terms of business!
How does this seat compare with others you have completed?
This seat has offered me the greatest variety, both in terms of clients and type of work. I would rarely get the same type of work twice, so most tasks would allow me to learn something completely new as I would be dealing with a range of different types of business deals. It has been a great seat to improve my drafting skills, but also develop my ability to review a commercial contract and spot what is missing or not in our client’s favour.
This seat was the most consistent in terms of work flow. The team had a steady flow of work and clients would rarely spring something on you that was immediately urgent. My work-life balance where therefore better in this team that it has been for others.
How do you maintain focus in such a detail-oriented environment? Have you started dreaming in terms and conditions?
Admittedly yes! Think it would be hard not to as you are constantly looking at a screen. What I have found key in this seat is taking regular breaks.
I will usually set aside a block of time to carry out a task and whilst most of the time I won’t actually finish the task by then, I will use that time deadline for a break.
It may be that I just make a cup of tea or have a quick look on the internal intranet, but it helps me to refocus my mind and sometimes I’ll go back to the same task, or maybe move onto another and then set a time to come back to it.
There are also times where you find yourself really focused on a piece of so you don’t need a break and so can just power on through!
Does your work put you in direct contact with clients?
In this seat I have had less face-to-face exposure to clients than I did in others, however that is mainly due to the nature of work and location of many of our clients.
I have however been able to email and call client’s directly, although in general I will draft the emails to the client which my supervisor will send on and Cc me in.
I have taken the lead on calls with clients too; which whilst admittedly terrifying, an invaluable way to build up your confidence in being able to explain commercial contracts in a client friendly manner.
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