I really enjoyed the vacation scheme I did at Shoosmiths in Nottingham. Prior to my first day, it felt like a very daunting prospect of working in a firm for a full week as opposed to simply attending a firm’s event that lasts merely a few hours. However, upon my arrival I was pleasantly surprised by how welcoming and friendly all members of the team were - from receptionists and PA's to trainees, associates and partners.
I received lots of support from my host who was a trainee. I was left to get on with work that I was set but this was only after having discussed what I had to do, and it was not a problem to ask for help or questions about the work. Also, graduate recruitment are in contact with you often; sending emails to give you work to do and they even rang the office mid-week to have a catch up with me on how my week was going which I thought was a particularly nice touch.
I feel one skill that I particularly improved during the vacation scheme was my time management. I had to balance my time effectively to ensure there was enough time to complete the mini assignment and project for graduate recruitment, but also have time to do some real estate work and attend client meetings. This involved an element of adaptability for example when I was invited to a client meeting at last minute. This is a useful skill as being able to manage my time well will help when I am doing university work but also in my future career.
The structure was well thought out and planned. We were set assignments first thing on Monday morning - involving a mini assignment due mid-week and a mini project for Friday. Then in between this I had to balance my time to be able to attend client talks and complete the real estate work that I was set.
There was a particularly friendly atmosphere for the whole week. When you walk in the office people say hi and when you leave they say bye; so you are noticed and not just a hindrance to them. Everyone encouraged me to ask them questions about their career and anything that I wished to know.
It certainly gave me an insight into the typical day of people in the firm. The firm has moved to 'agile working' which means that everyone has a laptop and no set desk, so they move around and sit with new people each day. This seems a good idea as it means the working environment is clean and tidy, but also you get to sit and work with different people each day. I also got to see the type and variety of work people do there and it seems like a nice play to have a career.
I got to see that the values the firm talk about on their website and at careers fairs are actually present within the firm. They really push their values forward in everything they do; working in a team, taking initiative, being within reach and responsive and talking business sense. I have been able to see in reality that the culture of the firm is something they pride themselves in as it is a really friendly, non-hierarchical firm.
The pay was suitable for the work that I did and meant that I did not lose out on making money whilst not working in my usual part-time job over summer.
Yes, I was given a budget and was able to organise a networking lunch one afternoon. I organised the catering for the event and sent out the email to invite the whole office. This gave me the opportunity to meet new people and find out about practice areas other than the one that I had sat in during the week. Also early in the week and on my first day I was introduced individually to each member of the real estate department which was useful.
I would definitely recommend the vacation scheme at Shoosmiths to a friend. It has given me an insight into the firm, the culture and more generally what a career in law entails. It has confirmed to me that I am on the right career path and that I enjoy and have a passion for law.
Insight / Vacation Scheme (< 4 Weeks)
16th June 2017
Less than £ 10,000