I really enjoyed my insight into commercial law at Simmons and Simmons. The placement involved 5 days (spread over 2 weeks) in one department, for me that was the real estate department. The week involved many social events, such as: drinks with the trainees, networking lunches and brunches, and a dinner at the Sky Garden!
2. To what extent did you feel valued during your time at the company or firm?
I felt very valued by the firm over the week. This was for numerous reasons. Firstly, because of how kind and approachable all the employees of the firm were, they were genuinely willing to assist with any questions and made the week at the firm extremely enjoyable. Secondly, this was because of the quality of work that they provided for us.
3. How much guidance/support did you receive during the insight?
A good amount of support and guidance, we were provided with both a trainee buddy and a supervisor. The trainee buddy gave me information about what her job involves as well as providing me with work. Similarly, I shared an office with my supervisor who helped me when I had questions.
4. To what extent did/will the skills you developed, and information you received, assist you in your degree studies and beyond?
The skills and information of the vacation scheme cannot assist with my degree as I have already graduated. However, having attended the vacation scheme, including all of the social events, I have understood the importance of networking in the profession and this is an invaluable insight and a skill I seek to refine.
5. How well structured was the insight?
Although it might have been good to have the timetable further in advance, the insight was very well structured. We were notified upon acceptance of the vacation scheme offer of the dinner that had been organised outside of office hours, and we had a schedule of meetings, networking events and drop-in questioning.
6. How was the general atmosphere during your insight?
A very good atmosphere, everyone was so lovely and welcoming and happy to answer any questions that I had. Regardless of whether socialising or working, and regardless of the hierarchy within the office. Partners were similarly willing to answer questions and attend the events that were hosted regardless of the demanding nature of the work, as well as it being a particularly busy period of the year.
7. In terms of personal training and development, to what extent did the company or firm invest in you?
Simmons and Simmons invest heavily into the future of their trainees. First of all they reimburse for the travelling to the assessment centre, as well as the payment for the 5 day vacation scheme. Similarly, they pay for the LPC (and GDL if required to complete) as well as providing a maintenance grant during the year of study.
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?
It helped in terms of allowing you to see what the relationships are like, what the culture is like, and the offices and its location (which includes a lovely canteen as well as being in a great location which is bustling). The office itself was also lovely and a great place to work. I would say the nature of the work we were given gave some indication of what we will do, but inevitably without the LPC no vacation scheme can allow you to do everything.
9. How much did the insight help you in understanding the company culture?
Absolutely invaluable in determining the approachable and friendly nature of the firm. This was assisted by the work I was doing and the desk I was sat at as well as all the networking events that I attended. I was so impressed by the firm and how willing everyone was to answer questions and share their experiences.
10. How valuable was the content of the day in helping you to decide on your future career path?
It reaffirmed what I knew to be the career path for me.
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?
There were many opportunities throughout the week for this.
13. How were the networking/ social event opportunities?
The networking and social events provided for us over the week were amazing! We had breakfasts and lunch fully catered for that allowed us to meet different employees in different areas of the firm to understand better what they do on a day to day basis. There was also a drinks evening, and an incredible trip to the Sky Garden for dinner and prosecco for all the vacation scheme students and graduate recruitment!
14. Did you find out about activities that employees can get involved in outside of work?
There were many activities to get involved with outside of work. There were pro bono opportunities that allow solicitors to donate their time to those who cannot afford otherwise. Similarly there is a partnership with the big issue, and the Young Talent Programme where you mentor a student from a London school. Additionally there are many sports teams and some trainees had even gone abroad for a hockey tour.
15. Would you recommend this insight to a friend?
I would definitely recommend this insight to anyone who is interested in commercial law in an international firm. Everyone was so lovely and helpful, providing what felt like an honest representation of the job. It allowed you to experience what the work involves, what the culture at the firm is like and how lovely the people are like.