Having almost completed two weeks of work experience at Arnold Thomson, I have been asked to pen my thoughts and experiences thus far. When thinking about what to write, I was overwhelmed with all the knowledge I have desperately tried to consume. Considering that, what you may expect to read in this article is a long list of the innumerable things I have learnt during this time but that would bore you and I would much rather talk about something I did not learn, per say.
Who is a solicitor? You would have thought that most 15-year-olds would know that (or at least the term ‘lawyer’), moreover you would think that a 15-year-old having worked at a Law Firm for two weeks, surrounded by experts with unfathomable amounts of legal knowledge would know the meaning of this term. It is slightly embarrassing that the answer to this simple question for me is I do not fully know. This is not because I do not know what the people at Arnold Thomson do or that I have refused to engage in the educational experience, it is mainly because the term is not so simple to define as you may think. Allow me to explain…
The Oxford Dictionary quite simply defines the term ‘solicitor’ as a lawyer who prepares legal documents, advises people on legal matters, and can speak for them in some Courts of Law. Having shadowed people in every department of Arnold Thomson, I can safely say that this definition is far too simple and grossly inadequate. Being a solicitor is a lot more than that. Justifiably, the Oxford Dictionary is correct, simply put, that is what a solicitor does, however it does not do sufficient justice in capturing the full essence of who a solicitor is. Like you and I, a solicitor is a person. However, what separates this line of profession from everything and everyone else, especially within this firm, are two main things:
Firstly, it is the capability of dealing with clients in a manner that does not patronise them, but really helps them to realise and understand what is going on, and how best to meet their legal needs. This tends to be especially important for a solicitor, due to the vulnerable state some clients may be in when they come to them. Unlike any other job, a solicitor tries to remove any burdens a client may have, navigating them through the legal minefield relevant to their matter, and they will work tirelessly at it, as I have consistently seen at this firm.
Secondly and most importantly, it is the sheer volume of knowledge a solicitor has to retain in order to even qualify and be awarded the title of a ‘solicitor.’ And it is huge. They must first get through basic education up to A-levels. Then they have to get into University and complete three years of most likely brand-new content. And then finally, just as most other graduates heading towards other professions will consider themselves free, an aspiring solicitor must then commence additional training even qualifying as a solicitor. But the training does not end with the qualification. As I have seen over these last 2 weeks, it is very much a continuous thirst and search for knowledge in an ever-changing world of rules, legislations, and regulations. All this knowledge, everything that these amazing people referred to as ‘solicitors’ know must then be applied in every situation they deal with on behalf of the clients.
I have come to the conclusion therefore, that for me, the most fascinating thing about a solicitor is their ability, not only to continuously acquire, assimilate and retain all this knowledge, but to also translate it into each matter and put it into practice. So, to correct or add to the Oxford Dictionary’s definition, and answer the question of who a solicitor is, from what I have observed, a solicitor is someone with the overwhelming knowledge of the legal world, who can apply this throughout their work, and has a heart big enough to ensure the satisfaction of every client that comes their way. I believe that I have been privileged enough to meet some of the best here at Arnold Thomson.
I will forever be grateful to everyone at Arnold Thomson, for helping me to realise my own passion for the legal profession and for taking the time to give me an insight into the legal world. I have been greatly inspired.