I completed a three week virtual vacation scheme at the firm. It was really well-organised, and we were sent an agenda for the three weeks and our IT equipment beforehand. We were able to specify which practice areas we'd like to sit in - I sat with a disputes team for two weeks and the Competition Regulation and Trade team for one. My tasks ranged from research on specific points of law or processes, to preparing an update for a ongoing client relationship project, as well as helping prepare documents for Court.
Across two departments, I completed work on live matters for my supervisors, and assisted other associates and trainees in each department with their work. I attended several presentations on the different departments in the firm, as well as information sessions on how to write appropriately and the qualification process, and several social events. I was encouraged to meet solicitors at all stages of their career remotely, and to ask them about their experiences.
There are daily presentations led by difference departments of the firm, introducing their practice area to us. The work of the day consists of any task/assignment handed by our supervisor in each of our seats (ex: research, drafting, proofreading...). There is also pro bono work and group projects taking place over the 3 weeks. Daily coffee meetings/chats with different members of the firm are usual, and social event organised by GR happen often.
With the guidance of a supervisor and trainee 'buddy', I worked on various tasks on live matters including research, drafting legal documents and preparing legal advice notes. As part of the scheme, I also attended presentations on the different practice areas of the firm and to learn more about the firm's strategy, pro bono initiatives and life as a trainee.
The two days consisted various presentations delivered by different employees of the firm on topics including but not limited to Digital Transformation, Technical Skills and Applications Tips. There were also various interactive sessions and workshops covering subjects like Corporate Negotiation, Alternative Dispute Resolution, insights into our pro bono work, and a careers fair where we could listen to different trainees, associates and partners on their experiences within a given practice area. We also spent an afternoon shadowing a trainee, followed by an evening social event.
We started off the workshop with an introduction to the firm by one of the partners. Throughout the both days we had a series of presentations from a range of people (including two different practice areas and a session on the pro Bono work at Herbert Smith Freehill). In the middle of the first day we had a two-hour alternative dispute resolution interactive session which I really enjoyed. It was a great opportunity to develop negotiation skills.
The two day workshop included participating in an ADR workshop where participants were split into small groups and were given the task of coming up with some terms of agreement for a fictional client. Each group then had a mediation with the group representing the opposite side to negotiation terms. There was also a trainees and practice group careers networking sessions. Participants were given an insight to the roles that partners/associates/trainees do in different practice areas and the opportunities they have been presented with by the firm. The firm also hosted a lovely social event of chocolate making which was great fun.
On a day-to-day basis, you would sit in a given department and complete work set by your supervisor, help your trainee buddy on a project and attend and give presentations. The work would vary depending on your seat and your supervisor, but for the most part it would involve conducting legal research, taking minutes, drafting legal reports, proofreading contracts and potentially sitting in on client calls or team meetings.
I spent two weeks at the firm in two different practice areas. The first week within the Disputes team and the second week in the Corporate team. Throughout the vacation scheme I attended a variety of firm presentations, completed work tasks for my supervisor and particpated in the day to day activities that a trainee might do.
Daily tasks included research, proofreading, contractual interpretation, analysis of legal arguments for supervisors within our groups. Daily calls with supervisors and trainee buddies. Daily talks on various areas within the firm, including pro bono. Pro bono presentations (unassessed) within groups, presenting on access to justice and improving diversity initiatives.
As first-year students, they offered us an insight into the world of a commercial lawyer. Due to covid the presentations and workshops were held online. We listened to presentations from partners and got the chance to network with associates and trainees. Further, we took part in a wonderful and fun "how to make chocolate" class.
The First Year Workshop was a two day scheme where we were immersed into a range of activities and seminars to improve our understanding of Herbert Smith Freehills and of commercial law. There were networking sessions with various practice areas, as well as with trainees, associates and partners. We got an insight into the work that is undertaken at the firm and were able to ask questions. There was also a chocolate making social which was a lot of fun!
Over the course of two days, I gained insight into HSF, the type of work they do and their clients. There were also opportunities to network with trainees and senior associates too. On the first day I attended an ADR workshop and on the second day I attending a workshop on how to improve my technical skills when approaching a case study.
The First Year Workshop overall was an immersive experience into what working at Herbert Smith Freehills is like. Through the interactive Alternative Dispute Resolution Workshop and Corporate Case Study, I was able to learn more about the work the firm takes part in, and the role of trainees.
During our 2 day scheme, we participated in many activities that facilitated our understanding of the work, people, and ethos of HSF. From networking with trainees and partners, to completing a dynamic negotiations exercise, we developed the skills that are fundamental for trainee solicitors. Moreover, there were plenty of socialising activities (such as a fun chocolate making workshop!) that allowed all of the participants to collaborate and network with each other.
The scheme involved talks from Partners, Senior Associates, Associates and Trainees about the work done by Herbert Smith Freehills, both in terms of recent deals (case studies), pro bono and innovation within the tech sphere. There were opportunities for networking through a trainee session and a careers fair. There was also an interactive ADR workshop where we could meet fellow attendees (virtually) and a chocolate-making social. Finally, there was an application skills workshop.
The 2-day workshop included insights into the different practice areas, in particular the dispute group, which introduced us to the firm's involvement in the UK Supreme Court Prorogation Ruling in 2019. Additionally, we took part in an ADR workshop as well as in sessions in which we were able to network with the trainees. Finally, for the social activity, we enjoyed a Chocolate- Making session.