Parts of the Shoosmiths vacation scheme were enjoyable, but others parts were not as good or well structured as other schemes I have done. For example the team I was in didn't seem that prepared for my arrival, and the majority of work I was set was simple research tasks. I didn't feel that this was particularly beneficial or that it gave me a proper insight into what being a trainee at Shoosmiths would be like. The lack of social events on the scheme was also disappointing, and it would have been good to be able to spend more time with the other schemers, who I hardly got to see.
We also spent a significant amount of time completing a 'research project' and pitching back a product at the end. Again, I didn't particularly enjoy this and nor did I feel like this didn't really give an insight into what life as a trainee would be like.
The majority of people were friendly, although my trainee buddy was a little cold. A particular highlight was being taken out to lunch by a senior partner. I thought it was very refreshing that someone in his level of seniority was genuinely interested in what people on the vacation scheme were doing.
The work I was doing meant that I didn't feel that valued because it was quite often basic research tasks. For example one task I was set was to highlight the differences between contractual misrepresentations and breaches of warranty, something that I was pretty confident the associate probably already knew.
The structure of the scheme meant there wasn't that much guidance, and at times it felt quite a lot like I'd been thrown in at the deep end. Perhaps this is the culture the firm fosters, but personally it did not suit me and I have preferred other schemes where there is more structure and more support and guidance.
For example the week long research project we were given, we were expected to figure the entire thing out ourselves, and given very little guidance unless we went and asked other lawyers their thoughts/opinions (however many of them were not too sure either)!
I had finished my degree studies by the point I completed the vacation scheme but I did learn some useful skills. For example I learnt how to properly draft a legal research memo, a skill I was then able to utilise in another vacation scheme I completed.
Unfortunately I don't feel like I got to learn too much about the area of law for the department I was sat in, again because many of the tasks I was set were quite basic.
Whilst the scheme wasn't badly structured, it was not well structured either. Again, to me, it felt like being thrown in at the deep end a little. There were no social events and no workshops. We were kind of expected to get on with things ourselves. This might suit some people, but I definitely prefer a more structured environment where we know what is expected of us.
The atmosphere was quite good because the firm had just moved into a brand new office and there was an office party which was enjoyable.
However the new office had moved to an 'agile working environment' and hot desking, which is something I am not particularly fond of. People were expected to move around and take advantage of the collaborative working spaces, and to me this all felt a little bit forced and unnecessary. I don't see why there is anything wrong with having your own desk and bit of space that you can make your own. The lack of personalisation almost made the office feel a bit clinical.
During the scheme there was no training or development opportunities, which I thought was a real shame. On other schemes I have done there have been numerous session to get involved with, so this is an area the firm could definitely improve on. Running sessions like this is also a great way for schemers to get to know each other better, and this was something I felt like I was unable to do with the other schemers at Shoosmiths because there was so little time to interact.
Again, not that well because I feel like the work that I was being given was not truly representative of the work that a real trainee would be doing.
On the other hand, I feel like it was quite good at getting a flavour of what the culture at the firm would be like, which is always really useful and allows you to make an informed decision about whether the firm is the right fit for you.
I felt that the scheme did a good job at portraying the culture of the firm. For example whilst at the office party I had a nice conversation with the firm chairman and the offices managing partner, who were both very interested in what I, and the other schemers, were doing and what we thought of the firm. Things like this made me appreciate that the firm is trying to foster an inclusive environment.
Not that valuable because I didn't feel that the scheme was properly representative of my future career and I am already set on being a solicitor anyway.
However on the other hand it made me realise that I want to do my TC in London, somewhere Shoosmiths don't offer TCs at the moment, and so this was useful.
The pay was fairly standard, considering that the scheme was completed outside of London.
Unfortunately I had to pay 20%, something which I have been able to claim back as a rebate, but which could have been avoided in the first place as I have completed other schemes and not had to pay any tax.
I was lucky that the week I completed my scheme the firms new office had opened and so there was an office party which gave the opportunity to meet other members of staff. However there were no other planned socials, and therefore if I had been there a different week I don't think there would have been any particular networking events that would have provided the same opportunity.
Really poor, there were no actual events organised for the scheme. I feel like this really let the scheme down, because the thing I have particularly enjoyed about other schemes is the opportunity to meet other trainees at social and networking events. These events also provide a great opportunity to get to know grad recruitment and the other schemers.
The lack of any sort of informative sessions on the scheme meant there was not really an opportunity to find out what current trainees and lawyers are involved in outside of work. I know law firms, and I expect Shoosmiths, have lots of opportunities, so it would have been interesting to have a session letting prospective candidates know what these are.
No, probably not. I did not find the week to be that enjoyable or helpful and I think there are far better schemes out there.
Insight / Vacation Scheme (< 4 Weeks)
4th September 2017
Less than £ 10,000