I completed a one week summer vacation scheme with Shoosmiths. I really enjoyed the experience and loved working for the firm. My team were really friendly and made an effort to welcome me, and I was given a variety of interesting and relevant work. At the end of the week, I was a bit sad I could not just stay on!
I felt really valued during my placement. I got assignments from lawyers at all levels, from paralegals to partners, and everyone, including the partners, took a real interest in me and how I was getting on. The placement involved a presentation on the final day and several partners watched my presentation and gave me very useful constructive feedback.
The trainee solicitor in the team was my host during the placement. She was very friendly and supportive and took a lot of time to explain things to me and help me. Other members of the team were also always happy to help when I was stuck with a task, and gave me feedback on the assignments I completed.
While this was only a one week placement, it provided a really valuable insight into the workings of a national law firm and the reality of being a lawyer. It helped me develop some essential skills such as time management, working under pressure and prioritising tasks, as well as helping me to think commercially rather than from an academic perspective.
I felt like there was a good balance between scheduled activities, such as the presentation at the end, and unallocated time which allowed me to assist the team with legal work. While my team were fairly quiet during my placement, I was never bored as my host made sure I had work to do while also being careful not to overload me.
My team were very sociable and inclusive, and this reflected the general culture of the firm. My host invited me to various social events during the week, such as a sporting event and several drinks after work, which gave me the opportunity to speak to different members of the firm in a social context as well.
I ended up securing a training contract with the firm and the firm sponsored my legal studies. During my placement, the different members of the team also made an effort to explain legal concepts to me and give me valuable advice on both technical and personal development points, which helped me when starting my training contract.
While the team was undergoing a quiet period at the time, the tasks I was assigned gave me a good idea of life as a trainee. The fact that several team members gave me work meant that I got an idea of the trainee challenges of prioritising and managing expectations, as well as learning to adapt to different people's working preferences.
I think that I got a good insight into the culture of the firm and its focus on being approachable and working well together. While a week provides limited insight and the limited knowledge of vacation scheme students means that the expectations placed upon them are lower, I felt like my general impression was nevertheless accurate.
The placement was very helpful in that it confirmed my career choice of becoming a solicitor. It also helped me choose the type of firm I wanted to train in, as I found that the friendly culture of the firm was really conducive to learning as much as possible and enjoying my work.
I was paid £200 for the week.
There were a couple of drinks evenings at which I had the chance to mingle with employees from the wider firm. I also found that people were very outgoing and chatty, so even making tea in the kitchen provided an opportunity to meet and get to know other people in different departments.
The drinks evenings took place in a pub and were very relaxed which helped a lot as it made it less intimidating to chat with senior colleagues.
I was taken along to a regular sporting event one evening.
Insight / Vacation Scheme (< 4 Weeks)
12th November 2015
Less than £ 10,000