This review was submitted over 4 years ago, so some of the information it contains may no longer be relevant.
I wasn't sure what to expect when I turned up on Day One but the two weeks proved to be exceptionally enjoyable, hitting the right balance between networking, training sessions and substantive work. Questions were encouraged, and there were plenty of opportunities to get involved and discover more about the firm.
Despite being on what is effectively an extended, multi-faceted interview, I was made to feel valued during my two weeks at RPC. A vast amount of time, effort and resources have clearly been put into the summer scheme. It was geared up to give us a deep insight into the work the firm takes on, its strategy and culture. Not only that, but partners, associates and trainees gave up significant amounts of their time to deliver insight sessions as well as network. The Managing Partner, Jonathan Watmough even made an appearance! This attitude was also reflected in both seats I undertook. My supervisors ensured that I was as involved as I could be in their cases, making sure to provide case overviews and answer any questions I had. I was given trainee-level work and felt that I was able to make a real contribution to the cases I was involved on.
The first day was devoted to helping us settle in to the firm. We were given all the information we needed about RPC's IT system and any internal services we may need to use over the two weeks. When working in the departments, I was allocated a trainee buddy and a supervisor. They were my first point of call whenever I had an issue, but the fact the offices are open-plan, meant that it was easy to seek out any guidance I needed. Unlike the horror stories you hear about other firms, I found that RPC's claim to be a friendly place to work really rang true. Everyone I approached was happy to answer my questions, taking their time to explain anything I didn't understand.
There was a huge emphasis on not only gaining an insight into RPC, its culture and the sectors it operates in but also on the development of everyone's soft skills. A jam-packed schedule meant that I quickly learnt how to manage conflicting activities and become much more efficient. This has helped me significantly in deciding the type of firm I would like to train at as well as preparing me for my future studies.
Nigh-on seamless. As I've alluded to above, RPC's vacation scheme was an unbelievably smooth experience. Each day presented something new, whether it was a practice area workshop, tour of Lloyd's or a social with the trainees. The programme of events ensured that we had enough time in our departments to get a real feel for the work they undertook and able get involved in some challenging work.
Friendly. I found the atmosphere throughout my two weeks to be very welcoming. In both departments I worked everyone was approachable and more than happy to discuss any questions I had about my work, the firm or even the legal sector. It was clear RPC wanted summer vacation students to experience what it was like to be a trainee at the firm and I found that partners and associates were keen to involve me in their 'live' cases.
I felt that RPC invested a lot of time and resources on us. Our first day was predominately training and orientation activities to ensure we weren't left on the floors in a state of wide-eyed panic. At the end of each week, this was followed up by an 'end of seat review', where my supervisor helped me identify my development areas. Throughout the scheme, there was also an emphasis on developing our 'soft' skills. For example, there were a number of networking sessions to meet a range of people and find out more about the firm's other practice areas.
A great extent. I found the two week vacation scheme a very informative experience as I was treated as a trainee. In both departments, I was given tasks that I was informed would have been given to current trainees in my absence. The more cynical of you may be thinking that I'm simply regurgitating spoon-fed hyperbole, but it was evident that I was undertaking similar tasks to my trainee 'buddies', albeit of a less technical nature.
A lot. RPC claims to possess a unique culture among city-focused law firms. It was refreshing to find that these claims were more than substantiated. There were ample opportunities to gain a deeper understanding of the firm's culture through networking sessions, workshops and actually working in each department.
The content of the vacation scheme has been extremely valuable in helping me decide my future career path. It opened my eyes to areas of law that I had never previously considered whilst reinforcing my desire to pursue a career with a firm where trainees are a name not a number.
Plenty. Outside of the structured sessions, employees of all levels were happy to meet for coffee or an informal chat.
Good. The scheme covered both formal and informal sessions allowing us to meet a variety of employees from the firm. At all events we were not only well fed - the brownies are amazing - but also well hydrated.
Although it was alluded to occasionally, it did not form a substantial part of any of the sessions.
Without a doubt.
Insight / Vacation Scheme (< 4 Weeks)
Central London and City
6th July 2016