I had a great time on the vacation scheme. I thought it was such a good idea that all the students were in London for the first four days as I really enjoyed meeting other students. Although I was extremely nervous on the first day, because there were so many of us from all different offices I think this gave us all something different to talk about and made the whole experience more fun. The induction week in London was great and all the presentations and tasks gave me a variety of things to do. The two weeks in Sheffield were just as good as there were plenty of things after work which was organised for the students which I enjoyed.
I feel that during the first week in London every single person from the firm wanted to spend their time speaking with me which made me feel extremely valued. In both my departments, every person would answer any questions or queries I had but they would also ask me questions to find out more about my life and the stage of my studies I was out. This made me feel important and as though the people who worked their appreciated others no matter how old or unqualified I was. In the Sheffield office, the OMP and OTP would often ask how I was doing which made a huge difference to how I felt throughout the week. The trainees also were extremely friendly which contributed towards this.
I received a lot of guidance from graduate recruitment during the scheme. Even though I had a booklet which had a schedule of the scheme, graduate recruitment would often go through the agenda for the day which I felt was beneficial to me. They also reassured us that their phone numbers were in the booklet if we wanted to speak to them about anything. I also appreciated how graduate recruitment were really transparent as to when we would find out about the training contract, everything was really transparent. I also felt that in each department my supervisor gave me guidance towards my task to point me in the right direction. And both the OTP and OMP would pop into my office to ask how I was getting on with things which was extremely supportive.
I feel that the three weeks have allowed me develop skills which are relevant for the legal professional but also everyday life which I will carry with me throughout my studies. I have gained knowledge in certain areas of law which will be relevant for my future career. Additionally, I have development my communication skills and the networking skills which I believe are crucial for my studies and becoming successful in my career. The information I received and insights into how to work with clients and build relationships with them is something which I am grateful to have learned during my time with the firm.
The first week was really well structured- I think every morning the arrival time at the office being 8.45 and then the day starting at 9.15 was really good as it gave us time to have breakfast while preparing for the session which was ahead of us. It also gave me time to speak to the other students who I may not have met yet, as on different days of the week we would often be sat with different people. The second week was also structured really well. The only thing I would say is my group was under the impression that our second presentation was on the final Wednesday and we were told on the Friday before that it would be Monday which was annoying. Also, on the last week we had a lot of events which took place out of the office which meant I didn't spend as much time in the office as the previous week. If the events were balanced over the two weeks then I think this would have given the scheme better structure.
The atmosphere was really good throughout the whole scheme. The graduate recruitment team were amazing, full of energy and really funny which put me at ease throughout my time there. It was a shame that there was not a member of graduate recruitment in my respective office as I think it definitely made a difference when we had a member of the team with us. I got the impression that the firm is a great firm to work for as the atmosphere was just amazing the whole time and considering the firm had a cyber attack on the second day, I think the positivity and coming together of people gave me the best impression and is definitely somewhere
The firm invested their time in me throughout the scheme as a lot of the sessions were to help us develop different skills such as presentation skills, personal branding and networking. In my different departments the partners would speak to me about their experiences and were prepared to go the extra mile to ensure I understood any work that they would give me.
In the induction week, there were a lot of presentations from different people who each gave an understanding of what it was like to work for the firm and how their careers had progressed. This allowed me to develop an understanding of what it would be like to have a full time role with the firm. I also had the opportunity to ask questions which meant I could find out any extra things which I wanted to know about working for the firm. In my local office, the same applied as each person would introduce themselves, explain what they enjoy about their job and what their normal day consists of.
By spending three weeks with the firm and meeting lots of different people, this gave me an understanding into the companies culture and in particular their values. During the different presentations the talkers would explain the values which they think are the most important. Spending time in the office reassured what was important to the firm and the companies culture was therefore reflected in the work which was carried out.
The content of the day gave me an insight to what a day in the life of a commercial solicitor is all about. I was set different objectives throughout the week which were all varied and this gave me an insight to the kind of work I would be doing as a solicitor. This allowed me to decide if this was the career I wanted to go into as I had never done this kind of experience before and therefore this was extremely valuable to me as I have now decided that I do want to go into commercial law.
I was paid for my time spent at the firm which was from 9.00-5.00pm everyday Monday-Friday. I was also reimbursed for my travel costs during the induction week which covered my travel to London and back. On the days which dinner was not organised, I was given a £20 allowance to spend on food.
There were lots of different opportunities to meet others employees throughout the scheme. This was during the day as different employees would often come into the office I was sat in and introduce themselves. Additionally, a lot of the work involves working in teams so I had many opportunities to meet other employees. The social events which were organised also allowed me to meet other people.
The networking events were really fun. The partner dinner in London gave me the opportunity to speak to different partners in an informal setting. I thought this was a good idea as prevented us from being under pressure as we could speak over dinner and there were a few of us on each table which gave everyone the opportunity to ask a question. The events in my respective office were really varied, one included a client BBQ which gave me the chance to speak to some of DLA's clients. My favourite event was the DLA Piper Monopoly which was on the second to last day of the scheme and was a great end to my time spent there.
I already knew about the different activities which employees could get involved with as I had been interested in the firm for a while so had found out about these before applying. I did ask again and found out about a music group which employees can get involved with and that if there are any activities which do not exist, if you are keen to start something off then this is something that can be done.
I would definitely recommend this to a friend as I had a great time and I have learnt so much since the start of the scheme. Although I was really nervous, I think doing this scheme has allowed me to become more relaxed about going out of my comfort zone and meeting new people in a workplace environment. The whole scheme was really well organised and I have learnt so much in three weeks and I am extremely grateful to have had the opportunity to take part in something like this.
Insight / Vacation Scheme (< 4 Weeks)
22nd July 2017