I actually argued my way on to the summer vacation scheme with Mayer Brown! In my final year of university I won the Mayer Brown Speaker Prize at the Irish Intercollegiate Moot and was offered a place on the summer vacation scheme.
I had never thought of applying to commercial law firms in London and I went away and did some background research; it was immediately clear what a fantastic opportunity it would be to undertake an internship in one of the largest global law firms.
Extremely well organised. I was impressed with the support and guidance we received. Nominating seat preferences before-hand was a great opportunity to really think about what you could hope to experience during the internship. The supervisors were excellent and welcoming from the start. Sharing offices with a trainee and a partner allowed me to glimpse life at the firm from both extremes. There was a good mix of time spent in the groups and attending various talks, and socials.
The actual work itself was one of the best aspects. It gave me a chance to experience the realities of the practice of law. A trip to one of their European offices was also a fantastic experience. It give us a chance to meet and chat with Mayer Brown lawyers working there and it was also a very good social experience which helped to build a sense of camaraderie among the students.
The work was varied which was great for viewing life as a City solicitor from different perspectives. I sat in Employment and Construction. One of my first tasks was to research the effects of the swine flu outbreak (very topical at the time).
I had a chance to do a significant amount of research (both general and, occasionally, substantive legal research), I helped prepare files for disclosure, went to client offices to have documents signed and attended a series of conference calls.
The most important thing I learned was about the reality of life in a City firm. It was quite different from what I expected, but being able to sit and work with trainees, associates and partners gave me an invaluable appreciation of what it means to be part (albeit a small part) of a large team focused on achieving the best outcome for a client.
This is something which can’t be taught on an academic level, and needs to be experienced to be understood.