Could you provide a summary of a matter you worked on?
The pro bono matter that I worked on involved providing advice to an employee about the interaction between their entitlement to maternity pay and the time they spent on furlough under the Coronavirus Job Retention scheme.
What was your specific role in the matter?
I was working with a solicitor on the matter, and we both took part in the initial call with the client. After they had explained the issue, we asked some additional questions in order to gather all the relevant facts. It was then my job to review the documents provided by the client, undertake the follow-up research into the issue and draft a letter of advice. This letter was then reviewed by the solicitor and by a partner before being sent out to the client.
Which aspect of the matter interested you the most and why?
The Covid-19 pandemic has caused significant disruption to people’s lives in so many ways and has meant that a lot of people have become more familiar with the law surrounding furlough than they ever thought they would be. It was interesting to be looking into such a topical issue and one that is relevant to so many people.
How did you find that working on a pro bono case differed from your usual work?
Usually the work that we do involves multiple parties, jurisdictions and issues, whereas this pro bono matter allowed me to really focus on the particular issue of one person.
What piece of advice would you give to a trainee starting out at Macfarlanes?
Have faith in your abilities and take responsibility for your work. Particularly in advisory seats, you will be required to research an issue and come to a conclusion that you can support – so it is important to feel confident in the conclusions that you reach.
How do you think pro bono work helps you develop as a trainee solicitor?
I think that it gives a more rounded view of the legal landscape and exposes you to areas of law that you may not otherwise have come across.
Have faith in your abilities and take responsibility for your work. Particularly in advisory seats, you will be required to research an issue and come to a conclusion that you can support - so it is important to feel confident in the conclusions that you reach.