The insight was really enjoyable. I had the opportunity to experience a range of practice areas and every person that I met was really eager to help and answer any questions I may have. The programme was also organised very well and included opportunities to find out about practice areas I was not able to directly experience and fun social activities.
I felt very valued during my time at HSF. I was able to knock on colleagues' doors at any point during the scheme and received emails from alumni from my university wanting to meet up with me for a coffee to discuss how I was finding my work. The work I was set seemed like it would actually help employees of the firm and I felt like I was, therefore, doing valuable work.
I received huge amounts of guidance and support during the insight. I knew that I was able to contact someone at any point if I had any queries and I was given a range of different contacts. In each week I had a trainee associated with the department and both trainees were very welcoming and offered to look over any work I did. The senior associates I sat with were also very supportive and welcome to any questions. I was also put in contact with another trainee who had attended my university and she recommended other people I could speak to if I was interested in their particular career area.
I believe the skills I developed will be extremely useful for life beyond my degree. I am interested in pursuing a career in law and was offered a training contract after doing the vacation scheme. During the scheme, I developed lots of useful legal skills, especially learning how to do legal research and ways of navigating past legal cases.
The insight was structured extremely well. At the beginning of the vacation scheme, we were given all the timings of the presentations, social events and other events we would be doing as a cohort. There was a good balance of structured activities and office work which allowed me to also engage in more regular work and get a sense of what beginning a solicitor would be like.
The atmosphere was very enjoyable. The cohort was extremely supportive of each other and HSF made it clear that we were not in competition with each other but should merely try to do as well as we possibly could. In the office, the atmosphere was professional, but also supportive. I never felt stupid asking questions, but also felt valued as a colleague.
The firm invested a lot of time with the vacation scheme students. We attended sessions on networking to develop our networking skills before networking sessions later in the vacation scheme. We also had various feedback sessions about our previous interview performance to attempt to signpost some areas we might wish to develop and feedback on the written work we had given in.
After completing the vacation scheme, I felt like I had a good understanding of what it would be like to work full time for HSF. I was able to meet many trainees who gave me an insight into what it would be like to start at the firm and how similar the work I did was to the work they were doing. I also appreciated that they were able to show me both the positives and negatives of the role, which gave me a more realistic impression.
Although it is difficult to completely understand the culture without working there, I felt I had a good impression from meeting lots of employees and talking to them about their career experiences. We were also able to attend a future juniors' quiz night, which showed how important communication with their future juniors was for HSF and subsequent communication with the firm has reinforced my understanding of the culture.
This insight was extremely useful for helping me to decide on my future career path. Although I believed that law was the area in which I wanted to work, the vacation scheme only confirmed this and made me really excited about the prospect of working as a lawyer at HSF. I thoroughly enjoyed my time there which is something that is extremely important to me in considering my future career.
I was paid £400 a week, which I thought was extremely fair for the work and very competitive in comparison with other similar firms and sectors. Although the vacation scheme is useful as a means of entering a potential career, it is particularly useful to be paid during the scheme as it meant that I did not have to choose between doing it and any potential financial losses.
I had plenty of opportunities to network and meet employees. During the vacation scheme, we had the opportunity to network with partners and I was able to talk to partners who worked in areas other than my direct placements. Partners in areas in which I was interested also invited me to stop by their offices later in the week for further discussion. I was also given the opportunity to meet plenty of trainees in a more relaxed manner during the social events.
I really enjoyed the networking and social event opportunities. A particular highlight was the first evening when the vacation scheme cohort all went for dinner together which was organised by HSF but without any HSF representatives. We were able to get to know each other a bit better and bond as a group. We also had networking drinks with the partners, went sushi making together and attended the future juniors' quiz.
I found out a little of the activities employees could get involved in outside of work, for instance, the netball team and opportunities to volunteer or work within the networks inside HSF, for example, the women's network or the LGBT network. However, perhaps there could have been slightly more focus on the activities available outside of work.
I would definitely recommend this insight to a friend. I thought it had a really good balance between opportunities to do real work and get an insight into what working at the firm could possibly be like, but also more relaxed opportunities to ask questions and get to know employees at social events. The insight only confirmed my interest in a career in law and I was extremely grateful to be offered a training contract afterwards - just an added bonus!
Insight / Vacation Scheme (< 4 Weeks)
Corporate Law, Intellectual Property Law
Central London and City
11th May 2017