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Interested in employment law? What can you do to stand out from the crowd?

8 January 2013

Not everyone can get legal work experience, which is generally considered a good thing on the CVs of prospective trainees. However, experience of the legal sector does not have to be limited to work experience. If you’re interested in employment law, there is another option open to you.

I recently attended a Trainee Day at the Birmingham Employment Tribunal. Don’t be put off by the name though, this was not solely for trainees! In attendance were paralegals, associates (albeit ones looking to switch to the employment sector) and law students. And, naturally, some trainees.

The purpose of the day was to provide a general insight into the workings of the tribunal. Judges gave their time to sit with the attendees and fielded whatever questions we could think to ask. We also had hearings hand picked for us to sit in on and observe, at the conclusion of which the judge took our questions and explained to us what had happened and why. Some of this explanation was pretty obvious, and some of it was far less obvious and very interesting.

I was fortunate enough to see a short matter in the morning through from the outset to conclusion (the claimant lost, so no need to deal with remedy), and in the afternoon to see a matter in which liability had been admitted and the hearing was solely on remedy. The parties were being wholly unreasonable and I think the judge enjoyed being able to vent to us when the parties were sent away to discuss settlement! I’m sure he’d deny that though – and of course I will mention no names!

My experiences of the day are certainly something that I will put on my CV as a trainee. Personally, I think having such experience on your CV as a prospective trainee will look very good indeed. I think there are few occasions where you can gain such experience and enjoy it so much.

Birmingham Employment Tribunal run a couple of Trainee Days each year according to demand and I would highly recommend getting in touch with them to arrange attendance. It will cost you nothing and you will gain a great deal.

I don’t know if tribunals in other localities run similar schemes if you are not able to visit Birmingham, but it never hurts to ask…!