When I applied to be seconded to the Law Societies Joint Office in Brussels the last thing that I imagined would impact the opportunity would be a global pandemic.
My initial thought was that I should seek to postpone the secondment until a more suitable time. However, time was of the essence as my training contract was due to end at the beginning of July and I was conscious that I may never get an opportunity like this again. Also, in a world where the ‘new normal’ relies on remote working and video technology, I thought it would be great way to evidence my ability to adapt to the new way of working.
My secondment commenced as planned on 23rd March. In my first two days, I had one-to-one calls with each member of the team. They explained the work that they were currently undertaking and how I may be able to assist them from home. Despite not physically meeting any of my colleagues, I automatically felt at ease and ready to make the most of the opportunity.
Despite the fact that I am sitting at home, the secondment has been extremely fulfilling. I have been involved in many projects that I would never have been exposed to in my training contract. I edited the Brussels Agenda, the offices monthly newsletter, I assisted on the response to the EU consultation on the Rule of Law and I have worked on topics which were completely alien to me prior to the secondment such as artificial intelligence, internet of things and robotics. I have also been able to attend multiple webinars on new and interesting topics and improve my communication skills by presenting in virtual meetings.
Daily virtual coffee mornings allows the team to have a general catch up before the working day offering trainees the chance to offer assistance on new pieces of work. Also, we’ve never missed an opportunity to make the most of a bank holiday by organising virtual drinks!
The smoothing running of the remote secondment is real testament to the Brussels team. They have been so friendly and helpful and they’ve made the experience a much easier process than it could have been. I have been able to form relationships with the team (despite not physically meeting them) and I know I will be travelling to Brussels as soon as possible to meet them all properly!
This has been an invaluable experience which I am taking away so much from. Regardless of whether the secondment is remote or not, I strongly recommend that anybody interested applies for this secondment.
Ellie Scott, Trainee Solicitor at Milton Keynes Council
For details of our current secondment opportunities, see here.