This review was submitted over 4 years ago, so some of the information it contains may no longer be relevant.
Had a really good time getting involved in lots of different workshops and activities off the floors. The work I was set in the office was also mostly very intriguing. Everyone made the two weeks a really enjoyable experience, at no point did I feel uncomfortable.
Everyone who set me work seemed genuinely thankful for my assistance. This comes with the fact all the work I was given was of genuine importance, I wasn't given any made up tasks.
The trainees were always on hand to answer any questions we had about the work we'd been set. Even more senior staff were incredibly helpful and welcomed any queries.
The commercial and insurance workshops were incredibly helpful in terms of gaining insight into these two different areas of practice. As well as this, the work I was set on the floors was work that would have otherwise been done by a trainee. This meant all the programmes and procedures I had to get to grips with will hopefully give me a head start for when I am lucky enough to gain a training contract with a firm.
The scheme was timetabled from start to finish, all the vacation schemers knew exactly where they needed to be and at what time. There was also good amount of time scheduled for social activities, which emphasised the friendly and relaxed atmosphere the firm boasts.
All the staff at the firm were very friendly and welcoming, at no point did I feel like I was a hinderance. The social activities that took place during the placement gave us a real opportunity to get to know many of the current trainees, they were all lovely, fun and interesting people.
The firm has a clear development strategy and offers training to those in all level of seniority. They have a clear career programmed which sets out exactly what skills and abilities are expected of staff at different levels and what qualities you need to demonstrate in order to progress up the 'ladder'. It seems like RPC are very much invested in their staff.
The experience did provide us with a substantial amount of time on the floors and this gave us a real insight into the kinds of work the trainees were working on. We were given slightly less exposure to the work that the more senior members of the team were working on, simply because this was work that vacation schemers were less able to help with. However, everyone was happy to talk about their work over a coffee or over lunch - in fact this was heavily encouraged.
The placement gave a real chance to get a feel for the staff at the firm and the kind of working culture it has. We spent a considerable amount of time on the floors and got to observe how the solicitors around us worked. The scheme unfortunately limited our experience to only 2 practice areas (though this was partly unavoidable due to time constraints). It might've been more helpful to spend a couple of days in other departments to gain a better feel for the entirety of the firm.
The insight I gained from my two weeks at the firm was invaluable in helping me make decisions about my future career. The time not the floors gave me a real opportunity to see what working in a corporate commercial law firm would be like. The trainees made sure we were given real work and an opportunity to gain a proper insight into the realities of the everyday life of the lawyers that work at the firm. We were able to attend meetings, conference calls, as well as get involved with the court run. There was little that we weren't able to observe or actually help with.
The firm paid £300 per week. I felt this was a very reasonable sum, this was enough to cover accommodate during the time the scheme ran. As well as this, all the vacation schemers were given a card which was loaded with £60 worth of credit which could be spent in the firms canteen as well as in various vending machines. This, along with the fact many breakfasts, lunches and dinners were provided for during networking events, meant I spent barely a penny during my two weeks at the firm.
The graduate recruitment staff made sure there were plenty of networking opportunities with the current employees. Specifically there was a networking lunch which was attended by those of various seniority. As well as this, it was clear that we were able to approach any member of the teams we were in and ask for work. This meant that on a couple of occasions I ended up being able to work on tasks for partners, providing a valuable opportunity to get my name known by those higher up in the firm.
The graduate recruitment team made a real effort to ensure that at no point in the firm were we bored at our desk. Whilst we did spend a substantial amount of time at our desks in the various departments, our week was also action packed with various talks, networking events, socials and even a trip to the Lloyds Building on Lyme Street. This was especially exciting - I realised just how little I knew about the insurance world!
Whilst there was a presentation on the trainee blog and general information about a ew of the social activities that occurred throughout the firm, it was hard to get a true idea of the extent of the social side of the firm. I got a sense that as well as the house system that promoted social events through the firm, the separate departments also held events, as well as their being firm-wide events (such as the summer ball). It would have been handy to have a short presentation that spoke about all of these social opportunities, such as choir and the different sports teams.
I would certainly recommend applying to RPC for a vacation scheme. The atmosphere at the firm meant I had an incredibly comfortable and enjoyable two weeks. The various presentations and talks meant I gained a really good insight into the firm. The time on the floors meant I gained a good understanding of how RPC, and commercial firms in general, work and operate. I truly feel that those considering a career in corporate/commercial law should apply here to gain a better insight into the industry. Not only this, but the hours were very civilised, arriving at 9- 9.30 and leaving by 5.30/6 every day (unless there was a social event planned).
Insight / Vacation Scheme (< 4 Weeks)
Central London and City
27th July 2016