This year was the first time the new and exciting Academy programme CMS Cameron McKenna Nabarro Olswang has been run and without a doubt it has been a fantastic experience. The first of the three weeks had the vacation schemers engage in the "Business of Law" week with activites varying from individual types to group exercises.
The next two weeks had us in the teams around the firm, getting stuck into the various cases at various stages. With some of my days varying from quieter where I could focus on researching the types of tasks trainees do and getting to know the team a little better, to the busier days when everyone was in full force getting deals completed and the workload building up, which for me, made it feel like I was valued in the team, even as a vacation schemer.
I have felt valued through every step. Prior to starting, every effort was made to ensure we would easily integrate into the teams, many chances to network with the firm were made available and communication from the Grad Recruitment and supervisors helped to keep us aware of everything going on and to ensure we enjoyed our time here to the fullest.
Turning to the socials, we have a fantastic array of different socials we got involved in and the quality of it all was impressive. The time and effort they each put ensuring our time at the firm was put to the best use showed to us all that we were valued, and the future of the firm.
Feedback was a big focal point throughout the three weeks and I found it to be incredibly useful for my personal development. To go into more detail, the quality of the feedback was not at all generic. The feedback I received went into detail of how and when I did certain things, how I could improve the next time. The partners themselves got involved in giving feedback and were more than happy to follow up on how we did the following weeks!
Asking for feedback was also not an issue at all, they in fact encourage it, and as busy as supervisors and partners may have been, they were more than happy to spare 10 - 15 minutes of their time to ensure I performed as well as possible.
The skills that I feel have been developed include, but are not limited to my communication skills, attention to detail and my ability to manage expectations. The information, or knowledge I've gathered I feel will help me in my, current, Economics degree through the linking of legislation to things like bond issuance and the managing of an incorporated company!
The skills will stay with me in my work life as well as the personal. Generally, this vacation scheme has opened my eyes up to the type of very high quality work (and play) expected in the life of a corporate lawyer.
Our vacation scheme was structured in such as way that there wasn't much time for daddling - especially in the first week. We had sessions ranging from more psychological aspects to how best to further the firm's business and on keeping our fitness up to ensure our minds worked to the best of their abilities.
The next two weeks, we have a structured plan of different types of tasks we would be getting involved in, and supervisors ensured that we got to see many different aspects of a transacation (for those particular seats, one of which I was in).
As a result of the development and training we were provided with, I got to see quite a bit of what it would be like to be in this role full time. Trainees didn't hesitate to have you shadow them for various tasks, and we were taken along to meetings with clients and to internal meetings too.
The Cannons canteen was open to us for lunch and you could really feel the atmosphere of the firm there - a brilliant one!
The content of the three weeks has definitely cemented my desire to become a solicitor. The fact that we got to see the many different sides of the firm and to spend a full three weeks allowed me to get a real feel for the firm and not just a general overview and a slight feeling of what the firm is like!
The types of activites that employees could get involved in included various sports teams which were open to us vacation schemers for the duration of the three weeks, a very nice touch! Alongside this, various exciting opportunities to get involved with pro-bono work were available and in fact encouraged.
Other sports events which revolved around netoworking with clients and separately with employees' friends and family were also available which helped me to envision this firm to be one that cared for the well-being and development of their employees.
I would most definitely recommend this to a friend. Even if you have never considered a career in Law, this scheme covers a great deal of the firm and every effort is made to ensure you can showcase yourself the best you can, that is would be a great lost opportunity if you didn't at least apply for it!