Internship blog by Joseph Lavelle

Written 7th August 2022 by Olliers Solicitors

I would first like to start by saying thank you to the entire team at Olliers for what was an interesting, enjoyable and insightful week. Throughout the whole week, the entire team made me feel welcome and the environment made me feel like I was getting the most out of my time there. Having recently graduated University, my week spent at Olliers has been invaluable for me in showing me the role and duties of a criminal defence solicitor in their day to day working life. The team at Olliers are clearly passionate about ensuring that their internship educates and gives a real insight into the role of their solicitors.

The Magistrates’ Court

During my week with Olliers, I managed to spend two days in the Magistrates’ Court. During this time, I got to see how vital this court is to the criminal law system, sitting in on a number of hearings within the court. Seeing how all criminal proceedings start in the Magistrates’ Court with a plea hearing and then seeing a case occur in the court before a District Judge to also seeing a sentencing in the court, the team ensured that I got to witness a multitude of aspects of the work conducted in the Magistrates. During this time, it was particularly interesting to see Martha Whitehead communicate with the prosecution to prevent a case from even reaching the Magistrates’ Court for a trial. I would like to thank Martha as well as Kate Young and Laura Baumanis for taking me along to the Magistrates’ and giving me and answering all of the many questions that I had. It was great to see them advocating for clients so confidently and with clear passion for what they do. 

Crown Court

During my week with Olliers I also got to see a plea hearing in the Crown Court and I would like to thank Matt Corn for taking me along with him to see this. After spending time in the Magistrates’ Court, also seeing the Crown Court and being able to compare their differences based on my own experience was very intriguing. I got to see a plea hearing for a conspiracy case and I found it particularly insightful to see how cases were dealt with where there were a number of defendants, all with separate counsel. Seeing how the job of a solicitor is different in the Crown Court and the role they play when there is also a barrister was also very interesting. Seeing how Matt attended the Crown Court for the hearing despite their already being a barrister there to represent his client, when other members of the conspiracy received no representation from their counsel, will always stick with me as the moment I realised the focus that Olliers put on their clients.

Police station representation

Seeing the importance of representation at a police station for clients is something that surprised me and getting to sit in a police interview with an officer, the client and Helen Buxton as she represented her client was one of the most memorable parts of the week. Seeing how Helen had built up a relationship with the client and the importance of her presence prior to the client being charged are aspects of being a criminal defence lawyer I feel like I learned a lot about. I would like to thank Helen for assuring that I got to see this part of her role during my time with Olliers.

Finally, I would like to thank everybody else who works in the Olliers office. Throughout the week, I was made to feel like part of the team by such a friendly and welcoming group of people. Everyone was more than happy to talk to me about their role, aspects of the criminal justice system and my future. Everyone’s willingness to talk to me ensured that I learn a huge amount in a short space of time. Once again, I would like to thank Matthew and the entire team at Olliers for this opportunity and I would highly recommend the Olliers internship for anyone looking for an insight into the work of a criminal lawyer.

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