A placement year during a pandemic
My name is Seth, I study Law, LLB (Hons), at Leeds Beckett. I’m currently on a legal placement with the Medical Protection Society. This society protects and supports the professional interests of more than 300,000 doctors and dentists around the world.
As we fast approach the end of another university year, we are all left wondering where the time went and what our next phase at university during the pandemic will be. I thought it would be a great time to reflect and tell you about my placement experience so far. Hopefully, this will give you an idea of the opportunities available and give you something to read whilst procrastinating over writing up that next assignment.
Let’s rewind to the start of my second university year. I’m a keen tennis player and have a part-time job at Premier Inn. I’m happy with life at university and partying. Hearing about the Work Placement module I thought to myself that it just sounds like extra effort and then thought nothing of it for several months. As my second year went by, COVID-19 rates were rising and people’s lifestyle was changing, including mine, the thought of not having a fulfilling final year was on my mind.
One early Thursday morning, whilst waiting for my exam results, I checked my emails and my eyes were drawn to an email from the placement team… was this a sign? A placement at the Medical Protection Society for a law undergraduate. After a bit of Googling, I soon realised this job was applying practical law and dealing with negligence claim cases for doctors and dentists, sounds very professional. Could I really do this? Would I have the skills? With a bit of courage and nothing to lose I clicked on the link. I filled out some details and attached my CV. The next thing I knew I was in my kitchen having a Zoom interview. Within a week, I had a law placement with a salary. It transpires that the Career & Development module was very useful!
My first couple of placement weeks were tough. My laptop and headset were delivered to my house and I began working from my student house. All of my training was delivered remotely, I had new systems and processes to learn, new people to meet and I had to wake up every morning at 08:00! Initially, I felt overwhelmed and would have really liked to have been in an office where there was somebody to ask for guidance on occasions. However, I did settle into the routine and my hard work and persistence paid off. I now feel relaxed in my role and I have gained knowledge, experience and skills. Phew!!
Within my role, I provide data analysis and administration support to a specialist team within the triage function that deals with potential group action. I liaise with claimant solicitors, third parties and internal teams to drive data collection and I assist in developing strategies for the efficient handling of cases. Currently, I have been dealing with a high-profile group claim, regarding the use of mesh in medical procedures.
I would absolutely recommend my placement and the Placement Module to other students. Eight months into my placement, I have no regrets save that it would have been nice to walk to work, visit the offices and meet my colleagues face-to-face. Huge thanks to the Medical Protection Society and my great boss, the experience and knowledge I have gained throughout this placement have been and are invaluable. Not only has it given me a better understanding of what I want to do in the future but it has also shown what real working life is about. From learning new skills, to meeting expectations, and creating and developing connections, it has been one amazing experience that I would absolutely recommend and I would like to thank the University’s Placement Team for sending the original link through and of course my tutors on the Law School’s Career Development module for giving me a good head start.