I found the scheme to be thoroughly enjoyable with a strong focus on assisting members of the firm with genuine work. Each day of the one week Christmas scheme was busy and filled with a range of in-department work, Learning & Development sessions and social events – all of which was enjoyable and well planned.
2. To what extent did you feel valued during your time at the company or firm?
Whilst the firm is now trying to project its ‘High Performance Culture’, it is also very clear that Simmons is an exceptionally friendly firm. Everyone in my department and in the firm-wide L&D sessions were very pleasant, with a far less hierarchical feel than other vacation schemes I have attended. Trainees and associates were especially keen to help and offer useful advice.
3. How much guidance/support did you receive during the insight?
I, personally, received exactly the right amount of support. Graduate Recruitment was a useful first stop for any difficulties and the first day was well planned to prepare us for work in our departments. Trainees offered the most support during the scheme, especially when asked for advice in approaching and preparing work. My supervisor offered plenty of guidance, both in performing on the scheme and in my applications as a whole. None of this support was forced on us.
4. To what extent did/will the skills you developed, and information you received, assist you in your degree studies and beyond?
The skills developed during the scheme will definitely be useful beyond my degree in particular as they are exactly same the skills required during a Training Contract. All of the work that I performed was genuine work and feedback was always provided. It was also stretching work and allowed me personally to develop my research and presentation skills in particular, especially considering the pressured environment.
5. How well structured was the insight?
The scheme was very well structured over the week. Beginning with a comprehensive set of Learning & Development sessions and including a large degree of time allowed for independent work in the department. None of the sessions got in the way of this work and were focused on allowing us to speak with senior members of the firm
6. How was the general atmosphere during your insight?
Simmons & Simmons as a firm is incredibly friendly, but not at the detriment of high pressure work. The general atmosphere, therefore, felt both very welcoming, but also serious when work needed to be closed. As everyone was also very willing to help, the office was genuinely pleasant to work in for the week.
7. In terms of personal training and development, to what extent did the company or firm invest in you?
8. To what extent did the insight help you to understand what it would be like to have a full time role with the company or firm?
The work I was busy with was exactly the work being performed by trainees at the firm. The majority of my work also came from Partners who treated those on the scheme as if they were trainees. Trainees also offered to bring me onto a range of the matters they were working on and all of the research I performed was used on active matters.
9. How much did the insight help you in understanding the company culture?
10. How valuable was the content of the day in helping you to decide on your future career path?
As it gave such a clear understanding of the work performed by trainees the scheme provided a very useful insight into what a future career with Simmons & Simmons, the scheme was very valuable. More attention could be paid to the direction that the firm is progressing in, however, a good amount of such information was accessible on the intranet .
11. Were you paid or reimbursed adequately for this experience?
12. Were there opportunities for networking and meeting other employees of the company or firm?
Simmons & Simmons as a firm appears far less hierarchical than many other firms. As such, there were numerous opportunities for networking with senior members of the firm. Many of the Learning & Development sessions were also focused on allowing us to do just this and were brought from all four of the firm’s main practice areas.
13. How were the networking/ social event opportunities?
14. Did you find out about activities that employees can get involved in outside of work?
As the scheme only lasted a week there were not a great number of opportunities for getting involved in other activities. The pressure of the firm’s working environment also seems to have an impact, with many junior members rather busy. Intra-firm networks did appear to be very active, however, and more opportunities to get involved with these groups would have been appreciated.
15. Would you recommend this insight to a friend?
For finalists interested in a career in law and/or interested in a high performance finance-heavy firm, I would strongly recommend the Simmons’ winter scheme. Plenty of opportunities to learn more about the firm and to gain a genuine insight into the work of a trainee were available. The scheme is more pressured than other schemes that I have attended and so I would, however, only recommend it to those who feel comfortable working on active work.