What you learn during a vac scheme at a medical negligence law firm

There’s plenty of law summer placement life beyond the City of London

lucy-blackhurst

Legal Cheek Careers headed to the North West last week to meet some of the vac schemers at Fletchers, the UK’s largest medical negligence law firm — whose Patient Claims brand daytime TV-addicted students will recognise as the sponsor of Judge Rinder.

Among the work experience hopefuls was Lucy Blackhurst (pictured above), a final year law student at Liverpool John Moores University who is on track for a first class degree and wants to become a solicitor-advocate. Blackhurst told us why she is looking beyond corporate law to serious injury work as she aims to build a career outside London.

Legal Cheek Careers: What’s the biggest thing you’ve learnt during the month-long placement?

Lucy Blackhurst: It has been really interesting to see how the law that I have been learning about at uni works in practice. Seeing actual witness statements, for example, and getting a feel for how a case runs from start to finish. Certainly, I’ll be going into my final year looking at the law in a different way having seen it in action.

Legal Cheek Careers: What sort of work have you been doing?

Blackhurst: My first week was in the serious injuries department, where I assisted on some cases involving clients with serious needs after incurring brain injuries. The second week was in the firm’s medical negligence department, where I did an assessed letter of claim and quantum statement, which was great for my confidence and will also be a really good thing to put on my CV. This week I am in the costs team, which showed me how important it is as a fee earner to be constantly monitoring the expenditure connected to a case at a time when the courts are really clamping down on costs. Next week I am in the road traffic accidents team.

Legal Cheek Careers: Can you see yourself working in any of those areas?

Blackhurst: I’d love to work in serious injury law, particularly Court of Protection work, which I have been fortunate enough to experience at Fletchers. I really like to help people, plus I am very interested in the litigation side, having been involved in mooting at uni and training as a chartered arbitrator. My ambition is to get a training contract, qualify as a solicitor and then become a solicitor-advocate.

Legal Cheek Careers: What’s your plan in terms of funding?

Blackhurst: I’d like to do the LPC part-time over two years while working as a paralegal, and Fletchers, which offers LPC funding, have encouraged me to apply for a role after I finish my law degree next year. Then, hopefully, I’ll be in a good position to secure a training contract in view of all the experience I would have at that stage. In the meantime, I have an evening job currently with the Home Office’s passport office in Liverpool in term-time, which actually also has quite a lot of law in it.

Legal Cheek Careers: Have you considered getting a training contract with a corporate law firm?

Blackhurst: I have, but I’m worried that they may not consider me because I am at a non-Red Brick University and I messed up one of my A-levels [Blackhurst got an A*, an A and a C at A-level]. At the same time, I’m most drawn to serious injury litigation and have really enjoyed the experience I have had working in the sector, having previously spent a year working at a high street firm involved in personal injury before I went to uni. While I would be willing to move for the right opportunity — one option I am considering is the possibility of applying for a training contract with the Government Legal Service — my preference would be to stay in the North West.


Legal Cheek Careers also caught up with Blackhurst’s fellow vac scheme students. They told us about the biggest thing that they had learned during their month-long placements.

John Nevin, law graduate from Edge Hill University

Siobahn Cartmell, second year law and criminology student from Edge Hill University

Andrew Flanagan, second year law student from Chester University

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