Jess Smith - work experience at commercial law firm, Piper Smith Watton (PSW)

Jess Smith, a second year law student, spent three weeks in London gaining work experience at Piper Smith Watton (PSW). We spoke to Jess and PSW Consultant and Birmingham alumnus, Ian Insley, about their experiences this summer.

I was really keen to apply for work experience in London. The work in the city holds such a high value and there is always so much going on.

In this role I have been helping to draft claim forms, check bundles and shadow Ian with his caseload. I have learnt the importance of attention to detail. The role has also developed my personal skills and I now understand that a law firm is also a business. It is very different to academic law.

I have really enjoyed my time here. It has been really substantive as I have been able to get involved in the work of a proper trainee. I have enjoyed being in a small firm, where I feel I have been recognised. Everyone has been really friendly.It is important to be yourself during interviews.

There is a lot of pressure for law students to secure contracts, but remember that the law firm may not be the right one for you, so don’t try and fit into their ethos if it’s not right for you. Target the firms you are interested in and make a tailored approach.

I have got more work experience lined up over summer as I think it is important to see what other types of law are about. I want to make an informed choice about where I want to apply for my training contract.

As a Birmingham alumnus I am keen to support students to gain real, practical experience. Offering work experience allows students to make informed decisions further down the line about what type of firm will suit them.

When interviewing students, I am looking for good grades and an understanding of law and business. However, I am also looking for something beyond this. Law is about getting on with others and being able to build relationships and when reading applications forms, I always ask myself if I would like to meet that person.

Piper Smith Watton is a commercial law firm based in the heart of Westminster.

PSW pride themselves on being a niche law firm, known for their expertise and partner-led service which encompasses a strong, yet flexible business approach. PSW have a wide spectrum of clients from international corporations to start-up companies and private individuals. Jess spent time working with Ian Insley, Consultant, in their London offices. For more information, visit