Special edition: A summer clerk’s experience of Kensington Swan’s Construction Team

Aspiring to be a lawyer, I thought it would be prudent to start this blog with two disclaimers. First, all viewpoints communicated in this blog are that of the author and not of Kensington Swan. As such, the views expressed in this blog are not a substitute for seeking appropriate legal advice.

In the past 3 months, I have had the privilege of being a summer clerk in Kensington Swan’s Wellington construction team. Without wanting to sound too cliché, I have really enjoyed my time learning from excellent legal minds. I had never learnt anything about construction law in University (other than the notorious negligence cases on leaky buildings). Therefore, initially working in the construction team has felt like learning a new language. It has been surprising how much I have soaked in over the summer. I now feel like speaking a secret code when saying phrases like ECI (Early Contract Involvement), P&G (Preliminary and General), and GMP (Guaranteed Maximum Price).

The most important thing that I have discovered is an appreciation for the value of good legal advice. I have learnt that good legal advice can identify, manage and minimise potential legal risks. Where these risks cannot be minimised, lawyers negotiate the terms and conditions to allocate the risks in the fairest and most appropriate manner.

The greatest learning curve in my experience as a summer clerk is being comfortable with uncertainty. That has been a giant leap forward from University studies where I have always been confident with finding the correct answer. I was told early on in the internship that premier law firms exist because of their ability to deal with niggly areas of the law. This has been a huge challenge for me when the research that I was instructed did not have a directly relevant precedent. Fortunately, I had a supportive team who understood what I was going through and was patient in guiding me through this experience.

What is truly unique about summer clerking in Kensington Swan (especially in the construction team) is the no-nonsense approach that the lawyers have treated me. Summer clerk programs are supposed to give University students a glimpse of what it would be like working in a law firm. Therefore, I greatly appreciate my teams’ effort in making sure that I experienced what it was like to be a lawyer. Most of the work that I was assigned to had direct relevance to advising clients. Of course, that is not to say that I also had great fun in participating in many social events.

I am grateful that I was given the opportunity to summer clerk at Kensington Swan. I would  like to thank the construction team for giving me guidance throughout my experience.

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