I had a really enjoyable week at Shoosmiths based in the Manchester office. All staff were friendly and many opportunities were provided to meet people from different sectors and see various aspects of the firm. I was taken to the Leeds office for a day and took part in a networking event in the afternoon. I attended two presentations and found them both engaging.
Aside from the standard tasks required of all vacation scheme participants I am provided with many opportunities to undertake tasks for a wide array of people, ranging from trainees to associates. All the work undertaken was met with genuine gratitude and time was taken for them to provide feedback. I certainly felt a valued member of the Shoosmiths team.
My key contact gave me a great deal of support throughout; giving me tasks to complete, assisting (if required) with work being completed for her colleagues and signposting key contacts whom I should engage with where possible. I felt comfortable asking questions and she ensured that despite ongoing work she had adequate time to support me throughout my vacation scheme.
I graduated prior to the vacation scheme so it did not impact my studies however the vacation scheme at Shoosmiths gave me a good insight in to a successful (and growing) commercial law firm and galvanised my opinion that a career in a commercial law firm is my ultimate goal (ideally at Shoosmiths).
The vacation scheme was well structured centred around a project/presentation and a mini-project. There was flexibility around what should occur in between those elements but there was always work to be undertaken and there was never a moment when there was not a task to undertake, person to meet with or lunch to attend. The flexibility does mean each vacation scheme will differ but the in my experience having it was certainly a positive.
The atmosphere at Shoosmiths was welcoming and friendly. There was a clear commitment to the firm's values by all the employees I met. Shoomsiths revealed itself to be an excellent employer and somewhere I would certainly like to have a career, a conclusion I came to independently but one that was shared by many people I spoke to working at the firm (particularly in the real estate team). The vacation scheme confirmed that all the positive statements made on the graduate recruitment website were an accurate reflection of the firm's culture and focus. Overall it was an extremely positive week, I would highly recommend Shoosmiths to anyone considering a career in commercial law.
I was given support in the completion of my project by numerous members of staff who were happy to help despite having their own work to undertake. Once my presentation was delivered I was given detailed feedback and informed of areas where potential improvements could have been made as well as having positives highlighted.
I believe the vacation scheme revealed a true picture of the firm. I was given genuine tasks to complete which were pitched at a similar level to those undertaken by trainees. I was taken along to training sessions and sat with different teams able to view and listen to them working throughout the day.
The vacation scheme revealed that the firm has a strong commitment to the firm's specified values. The scheme started with an indiction, undertaken alongside full-time employees, this set the foundation of the firm's values which was built upon when liaising with employees throughout the week.
The vacation scheme was useful to reveal what a career in a commercial law firm could be like and also showed that Shoosmiths are en excellent employer who focus on the quality service delivered to clients as well on ensuring all staff are treated fairly and with respect.
Yes, I was paid for the week and was taken to lunch by different employees each day. My expenses for travelling to the Leeds office (from Manchester) were paid also.
Many opportunities existed to network, I was taken out to lunch each day by a different Shoosmiths employee and attended drinks on two evenings. I was taken to a networking afternoon in Leeds (where we played foot golf) which was followed up by a presentation in the evening a drinks thereafter.
Networking was made easy as all employees were friendly, welcoming and seemed genuinely interested in my presence. Whilst there was not a specific event attended by everyone on the vacation scheme I certainly was supported and helped to make the most of all opportunities to network.
I learnt about charity activities undertaken by trainees each year as well as sport teams and activities undertaken by different people in the firm (from football to triathlons).
Absolutely, the vacation scheme was really positive and I would highly recommend it, as well as the firm as a whole, to a friend. Buoyed by experience on the vacation scheme I will certainly pursue a career with Shoosmiths.