3 week Summer Vacation Scheme
The Vacation Scheme was well structured, and involved a week in London for all the students from all the Offices in the UK to meet. This gave us all a bedrock of confidence moving forwards, and we were more relaxed and able to enjoy our time more as a result.
The Graduate Recruitment team and people in the firm were all willing to go out of their way to help us all. I personally gained a large amount of insight during my time into a number of departments I wasn't sat in because the Senior Associates and Partners were willing to take the time to speak to me and help me understand what they did.
DLA run a buddy scheme so you have a Trainee who will take you out for lunch and answer any questions you may have, however trivial. The Graduate Recruitment team were also frequently on hand to help, and the open door policy means that there was always someone on hand to speak to.
Much of the work I did in my seats was based around how my skills could be best developed. At the beginning of each week we set out objectives, some of which matched up with how I will be assessed in my modules at University, and give me confidence moving forward. This will also be important moving forward to the Training Contract, where I will be able to develop much of what I already learned.
The three week programme was well thought out, and ensured we were confident and able as a group to integrate with the firm. It also ensured we had opportunity to receive feedback on a number of occasions on our progress, at the beginning and end of each week. There were also regular insight sessions into different departments at set times each day.
Every person I met without exception was welcoming, and excited to meet us. The open door policy meant that meeting more members of the firm and getting a sense of the Office humour was easy and kept the work exciting. The supervisors I had were keen to ensure I met and worked with every member of the department, if possible.
The scheme involved regular assessment criteria and objectives. At the beginning of each week we set objectives and were rated at the end of the week under the same system as Trainees. I was provided with high quality work, as opposed to photocopying or menial tasks, which were often geared towards preparing my understanding of modules at University and practical skills for the LPC going forwards. We were also appointed supervisors each week to monitor our progress and answer any questions we had.
I felt as though every effort was made to integrate myself and others I knew into the firm and the respective departments too. The frequent contact with Trainee Solicitors alongside this gave a unique and realistic insight as to the role of a Trainee within the firm and the responsibilities accorded to individuals.
DLA Piper are a company that have prided themselves on being forward thinking and progressive in what is a fairly conservative sector. They succeed in discreetly pursuing this goal, and within the company it was clear that it was made up of motivated individuals. Each person continually looks at making their own work better and how they can improve the ways things are done.
DLA had always been a firm I had hoped to successfully target, and the honesty and modest nature with which they present themselves makes them a very attractive prospective employer. The Vacation Scheme helped show me how to progress in my career with them as a lawyer, and shown the various paths you can take following qualification.
Travel and food for the evenings we ate out in London as part of the first week were fully paid for by DLA, as well as meals often being provided throughout the day. We were very well looked after during our time there, with the firm focused on ensuring every part of the process was as seamless and stress free as possible.
Throughout the scheme, there were a number of opportunities both formal and informal to network and meet people who worked at the firm and also on occasion, clients. These ranged from drinks at the end of the week (or a long day!) to dinners and meetings with Partners, other vacation scheme students and Trainees.
They were well organised and catered for, and they did not feel intimidating or pressurised. In fact, some of the more senior figures within the firm tended to be those most interested in us as individuals and our experiences with the firm and our studies. There were also a large variety of people at these social events to meet.
There were a number of sessions where we were briefed on Pro Bono opportunities and the various schemes and activities, sporting and otherwise.
I would definitely recommend this insight as it was an invaluable opportunity to see and be a part of a global law firm. The first week in London was excellent for networking and means I now have connections all over the UK, as well as doing some more advanced and complex work within each of the departments I sat in.