Emilia Gray

Role: Intern
Office location: Aldwych, London

Tell us about your background
I graduated with a Law degree from the University of Warwick in 2019 and completed the Legal Practice Course MSc at the University of Law, London in 2020. I am due to start my training contract with an international commercial law firm in London next March.

How long have you been interning at Base?
I first joined Base as an intern in the summer of 2017 and have returned each summer during my university holidays. I finally re-joined in June 2020 after completing my education and will leave to begin my training contract next year.

Why did you decide to pursue an internship?
The answer to this question has evolved throughout my time at Base and changed with each summer that I have returned. Initially, as a first year Law student, I recognised the benefit that work experience would provide in my applications to vacation schemes at law firms. However, once I had secured a training contract, I continued to return to Base for the opportunities it provided for my own professional development. I feel it has prepared me well for my career in law by enhancing my ability to work under pressure and developing the soft skills required to work in an office environment.

What makes interning at Base different from other companies?
Base takes on huge projects but the teams that work on them are quite small. This allows me, as an intern, a level of involvement that I perhaps would not be afforded at other companies. I am given a fair amount of responsibility and freedom and am often involved in team calls, which gives me an insight into the development of the project as a whole instead of limiting the scope to my individual task.

What has your internship entailed?
Throughout my internship I have assisted the Expert Witness team with their analysis and the compilation of their expert reports for court. Most of my work involves data entry and quantum analysis. However, I have also been involved with drafting and proofreading reports.

What are your career aspirations?
My short-term career aspirations include completing my training contract, qualifying as a lawyer in 2023 and gaining experience at an international law firm. Beyond that, I am not 100% sure – I’d quite like to work for a charity or NGO, forming part of their in-house legal team. However, I’ve also deep-down always wanted to work for the MI5 – who knows!

What have you gained from your time at Base and how do you intend to use that in your future career?
My time at Base has given me a unique insight into litigation that I feel will be useful if I do a litigious seat during my training contract. It has also given me an understanding of quantum and its impact on the value of legal claims for clients, which will be invaluable in my future legal career.

Additionally, the international nature of the work at Base has enabled me to work on projects in countries I have never visited and, accordingly, has introduced me to different cultures and practices. This cross-cultural aspect of work will continue in my legal career and I am excited that it is something I have been exposed to at such an early stage.

Perhaps most importantly, I have learned that it is a sin to make yourself a cup of tea or coffee without offering others one too.

the international nature of the work at Base has enabled me to work on projects in countries I have never visited and, accordingly, has introduced me to different cultures and practices

What are your strengths and weaknesses and how have they affected your internship so far?
Strengths: Coming from a legal background enables me to situate smaller tasks (for example, data entry) within the bigger picture of the overall dispute.
Weaknesses: Maths is my Achilles heel! Working at Base has definitely challenged me as the work is obviously centred around quantum. However, I feel that it has and is continuing to build my confidence working with numbers.

What challenges have you faced so far and what have you learned from them?
Learning how to use Excel properly. It will come as no surprise that quantity surveyors rely heavily on Excel. However, I had never really used it in my academic career. When I started at Base and was asked to run a ‘VLOOKUP’, I instantly regretted daydreaming in school IT lessons. However, my Excel skills have developed, and I now realise what a useful tool it is – I even use it in my personal life.

What key lesson would you take away from your experience and pass on as advice to other interns?
When given a seemingly small task from a senior member of staff, try to gain as much information on how the task will be useful to and used by that person. This will provide you with context and an understanding that will give you the ability to problem-solve along the way if any issues arise.

Additionally, if you make a mistake be honest and open about it. This allows it to be resolved before it becomes a bigger issue and saves a lot of headache in the long run! Furthermore, don’t allow it to dishearten you – everyone makes mistakes and it doesn’t detract from the good work you have produced previously.

I enjoy running, going to the gym, playing netball and swimming in my spare time. I am also interested in the law (unsurprisingly), politics and history.

How would your family and friends describe you?
I had to ask my friends and family for answers to this and they were surprisingly kind. They said they would describe me as determined and motivated, thoughtful and friendly, intelligent, and funny (with a dry sense of humour.