Each year, the Brussels Office hosts four to six trainee solicitors for one of their seats. We think it would be a great professional challenge and opportunity for trainee solicitors to come and work with us. To encourage you to apply and your firm to support you, we prepared a short overview of the top seven reasons why such a secondment is a good idea.
1. You will learn a lot about the EU institutions and will bring that knowledge back to your firm.
Being in Brussels, living and breathing EU policy and legislation, will give you the knowledge of the institutions, people and policies that no book or webinar can ever match. You will have the opportunity to attend parliamentary committee meetings and hearings, face-to-face meetings with MEPs and Commission officials, expert meetings and various events. This experience will give you a unique insight into the mechanisms of law and policy making and deepen your knowledge on selected subjects. Your firm will gain a member of the team who will share this knowledge and experience with colleagues.
The next two years will be crucial in defining the relationship between the UK and the EU. You and your firm will have a unique viewpoint of the negotiations, and the chance of having unfiltered and unbiased information from Brussels.
2. You will have the opportunity to visit the CJEU and meet the British judges and advocates general.
Each semester, the trainee solicitors visit the Court of Justice of the EU and meet the UK judges, advocates general and members of their offices. They also attend a hearing and are given the tour of the Court.
3. You will expand your legal research skills, learn about new areas of law and bring that knowledge back to your firm.
Trainee solicitors are usually already highly skilled in legal research but they learn to widen and hone those skills during their time with us. They concentrate on research on EU law and learn to use original sources, such as academic articles, blogs or general press. However, these can be more eclectic and unconventional sources depending on the topic.
4. You will polish your writing and editing skills.
Trainee solicitors produce the Brussels Office monthly newsletter, the Brussels Agenda. They participate in the planning meetings, suggesting themes and ideas, they carry out research and write articles, request outside contributions, and carry out the editing and the publishing.
5. You will have the opportunity to speak in public and you will be a more confident speaker afterwards.
Trainee solicitors attend, with the policy advisors and on their own, various external meetings, seminars and conferences where they are encouraged to ask questions and contribute to the debates. They are required to present selected papers to the various policy committees of the Law Societies and to answer questions from the members. They also attend meetings of the committees of the Council of the Bars and Law Societies of Europe (CCBE) where they actively participate in the discussions.
6. Your social skills will get a boost in an international Brussels environment.
Trainee solicitors learn how to network and build up a wide circle of professional contacts including:
- fellow trainees in British firms in Brussels (for whom they organise a weekly meet up);
- EU institutions’ officials from all over Europe;
- lawyers from large and small firms who are members of the Law Societies’ committees;
- employees of British and European NGOs;
- Members of European Parliament of all parties and of all countries, and their assistants.
7. You will have the opportunity to pursue your own project as well (the firm may also have an idea what the trainee can do in Brussels).
We also encourage trainee solicitors seconded to our office to pursue subjects that are of interest to them and their firm, even if they are not a priority in our own agenda.
See also what the former Brussels secondees said about their time in our office.