What's It Like to do a Client Secondment?

Rebecca Naylor is a trainee solicitor at Reed Smith. She’s currently undertaking a client secondment with Liberty, a campaigning organisation that protects civil rights and freedoms, and is working in the advice and information team to provide free legal advice to the public. Rebecca has even met Shami Chakrabarti, the director of Liberty.

  • Last updated Feb 11, 2018 8:54:38 AM
  • By Billy Sexton, Editor, AllAboutLaw.co.uk
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Could you give us a quick description of what area you’re doing your client secondment in and the kind of work you’re undertaking?

I’m doing a client secondment at Liberty. Liberty is a campaigning organisation that protects civil rights and freedoms through the courts, in Parliament and in the community. I am working in the advice and information team at Liberty, which provides free legal advice to the public. This involves researching and answering email queries and taking shifts on the phone line.

 

Did you choose to undertake a client secondment, or is it part of the training contract programme at Reed Smith?

I chose to apply for the secondment at Liberty. It is one of the options on our training contract seat rotation. 

 

How does a client secondment experience differ from a more general secondment?

It’s a valuable opportunity to work in the offices of a client, to get to know the team and understand how their business works. When I go back to Reed Smith I look forward to remaining in touch and continuing to build my relationship with those at Liberty. I will come back to do advice line shifts and write letters of advice.

 

What do you feel are the benefits to doing a client secondment?

There are a large number of benefits that come with doing a client secondment. You become aware of how your client’s business operates, what their main concerns are and what will be most helpful to them.  It’s also a good opportunity to meet trainees at other firms also on secondment. Secondments are also a great personal development opportunity since secondees are often given a large amount of responsibility.

 

Since a client secondment is different from an in-firm programme, is there a support system in place for you?

The firm is incredibly supportive of those on secondment. It sends us regular updates that our client might be interested in and the graduate recruitment team are always available for us to contact if we have a problem.

The team at Liberty are also very supportive and keep in close contact with Reed Smith.

 

How much interaction is there with your firm during your secondment? For instance, how do you receive feedback?

I receive regular feedback from my team at Liberty and I will have an appraisal at the end of my time here. I have been back to the firm on a couple of occasions for meetings and appraisals and we are supported throughout our secondment by the graduate recruitment team.

 

What has been your most memorable or valuable experience in your secondment so far?

Meeting Shami Chakrabarti, the director of Liberty, was very exciting as I have always admired her work and been to a number of her talks in the past. She is an impressive and influential figure, but at the same time very approachable and down to earth. She challenges society to protect and respect the human rights that every individual is entitled to.

 

What is your main piece of advice for those considering undertaking a client secondment?

There are a large number of queries coming in from the public every day, it is important to be extremely organised and stay on top of the workload. It is very enjoyable and rewarding and the team are lovely. I would also recommend getting involved in the events while you are on secondment, whether its drinks, campaigns or evening talks. 

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