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Work Experience at an Immigration Law firm

Ever wondered what it’s like to gain work experience at a top-tier immigration law firm. In this blog, Emily discusses her work experience at Paragon Law.

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My work experience at an immigration law firm

My name is Emily and I’m a recent English graduate from the University of Nottingham. 

I recently undertook a week of work experience at Paragon Law, in preparation for the PGDL that I plan to start at Nottingham Trent in September. My intention coming into Paragon Law was to understand how a law firm operates, and to gain experience working in Immigration and Human Rights, which are two areas of law I am most interested in. Continue reading to hear what made my week extremely informative and rewarding…


Libby Birt (HR and Operations Executive) was the first person I was greeted by. She firstly went through an introduction to Paragon Law, briefing me on the health and fire safety and giving me a rundown of the week ahead. Libby looked after me during my time, organising my timetable to make sure I was getting the most out of this experience, which I really appreciated. I was then given a tour of the office and introduced to everyone. My first task was to shadow Natalya Baker (Asylum Case Admin) who showed me how she organises all of her emails and works in a comprehensive system. It was interesting to have an understanding of her important role as a contact with social workers and the clients seeking asylum. I also learnt how meetings are organised, and the importance of interpreters and the extensive system in place for this to help meet client’s language needs. Natalya is responsible for arranging all of the client meetings for asylum cases and it was valuable to gain an insight on her vital work. After a lunch break, I assisted with legal research for Personal and Family Immigration solicitor, Emma Okenyi. I was given a laptop and had my own office space to complete this task, as well as my own email account to send and receive emails with tasks from other solicitors at Paragon Law. This helped me to integrate into the firm and really made me feel a part of the team. Before leaving, Libby checked on how I had felt about my first day and gave me an updated timetable with extra meetings she had found which I could shadow.


I arrived on Tuesday knowing what I was going to be doing and returned to my desk to carry on my independent legal research set by Emma Okenyi. Already at the start of just my second day, I felt at ease with the work I was doing and excited for the day, thanks to the people I had met the day before. Again, Libby greeted me and checked that I knew what I was doing. I really appreciated her continued support. After my first hour carrying out research, I had the opportunity to shadow Wendy Cracknell (Reception and Client Care). It was very interesting to see how initial contact with clients worked and Wendy’s professionalism was really great to watch. Wendy showed me many important admin tasks that keep the law firm running, such as how she responds to emails, answers the phone and sends and sorts important documents. After my lunch break, I met Nigel Smith (Personal and Family Immigration Associate Solicitor) who introduced his role and answered any questions that I had. I then had the valuable experience of shadowing Nigel in an initial client appointment, of which I took the attendance note. I then wrote this up for Nigel. After this, I had an online meeting with George Hanvere (Trainee Solicitor for Personal and Family Immigration). He answered any questions I had and introduced me to Proclaim, a database for all the client’s files. He then set me an ongoing task of assisting him in looking through a client’s file to find out why the case hadn’t progressed.


I spent Wednesday morning completing the tasks set on Monday and Tuesday. George Hanvere dropped in and spent an hour with me going through one of his tasks as a Trainee Solicitor of filling in client’s forms for the European Union Settlement Scheme, which was important to allow families to remain in the UK after Britain leaving the EU. It was exciting to be doing real tasks alongside solicitors, which helped to give me an insight in the day to day job of an Immigration solicitor. After lunch, I completed the appointment prep for a meeting I would attend with Rory Shanahan (Senior Caseworker in Asylum and Human Rights). Again, I had the opportunity to use Proclaim to do this. I then attended the meeting with Rory and was able to see how a meeting with a client seeking asylum is structured and the relationships and functioning of the interpreter, client and caseworker. In this particular meeting, a witness statement was being constructed, and it was fulfilling to witness Rory’s role and his understanding and care he showed towards the client.


Thursday began with appointment prep for another asylum appointment, this time with Saniya Hussain (Asylum and Human Rights Solicitor). The appointment prep involved reading through the client’s file beforehand so I had an understanding of what was going on in the meeting, which therefore meant I got the most out of it. The meeting was highly informative and I felt privileged to be able to hear the client’s story and be a part of the friendly atmosphere that Saniya created between herself, the client and interpreter. I then had a meeting with Thalej Vasishta, Director and Solicitor. It was great to have the opportunity to introduce myself to him. He made me feel at ease and was very friendly as well as making sure my week had been informative. After lunch, I had the opportunity to shadow Whitney Phippard, Business Administrator. Whitney set me the task of scanning important documents for a client to add to their Proclaim file. It was interesting to see the process of how a file is created on Proclaim and I enjoyed the opportunity to be a part of this. Thal then personally set me a task to assist him with legal research.


Friday was a fantastic opportunity to attend a convention at the East Midlands Conference Centre on Nottingham University Campus with the directors Kirin Abbas and Thal. Emma Robinson (Marketing Executive) met me beforehand and we attended together. I was able to help man Paragon Law’s stall and it was a chance to see how Paragon as an immigration law firm worked with businesses, like the University of Nottingham. I also had the opportunity to network with other businesses there and it was valuable to see how a networking event in business works. This day out of the office highlighted Paragon Law’s connection with businesses. This provided me with a different angle from the work I had seen in the office with individuals, therefore providing me with a wide breadth of the work that Paragon Law carry out. It was a great day to spend with the directors and Emma, all of whom were incredibly welcoming.

Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed my time at Paragon Law. The whole experience was incredibly positive. This was because the tasks that were set throughout the week were all assisting real life cases and problems. It gave me a sense of responsibility and pride in the work I was doing. My time was always filled, as throughout the week, on top of my schedule, Maaria Mahmood (Asylum and Human Rights Senior Caseworker) allowed me to look at client files.  This was always very interesting and informative to see how a real file is structured and the information that is needed to do so. It was highly rewarding and fulfilling to gain work experience at an immigration law firm which clearly cares deeply about their clients and staff wellbeing. I really appreciated the very personal experience I received, with a timetable made specifically for me. Thank you to everyone who I spent time with at Paragon Law. 

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