Vacation Scheme with Shoosmiths, based in their Solent (Southampton) office.
I thoroughly enjoyed my time at Shoosmiths, and was impressed by the friendliness of the firm as well as the amount of work that I was given during the course of the week. Although I was sat in litigation, I also worked on several employment law matters which I found incredibly interesting. The partners were welcoming and keen to get me involved in calls with clients to understand how advice is given in a practical and commercially focused way. There was a good amount of variety in terms of work, and I also had a mini-assignment and presentation to work on in preparation for an exit interview.
I felt incredibly valued during my time with Shoosmiths and I was impressed by the amount of responsibility the partners gave me as a vacation scheme student. My supervisor provided feedback on all the work I completed, in order to help me learn and progress during my time with Shoosmiths. The firm is very open and welcoming, and encouraged us to get involved with trainee events, including rounders and lunch. During my presentation and exit interview, all those watching were extremely engaging and genuinely interested in my creative ideas and proposals.
I was given a very good amount of guidance by my supervisor in litigation, and also by the more senior partners in the firm. Every task was introduced clearly, and with a description of what was needed to be done. I was sent past examples of similar work in order to guide me as to how best to answer the questions. Following completion of tasks, I was given a good amount of feedback both in terms of what I did well and in terms of how to improve for the future.
Before joining Shoomiths for the insight week, my legal experience was focused around maritime law in both contentious and non-contentious areas. Having been exposed to different practice departments at a national full-service law firm, I am now much more open-minded and hoping to secure a training contract with a firm that offers me a variety of seats. The week at Shoosmiths has been influential in helping me to broaden my horizons and consider more areas, rather than focusing solely on maritime law.
The insight was very well structured, beginning with a detailed email from Graduate recruitment setting out a number of tasks that has to be completed over the course of the week. This included a mini-assignment focusing on time management (due on the Wednesday), and a social media campaign presentation (due on the last day of the insight week). We were encouraged to reflect and document our experience by producing a daily diary, and careers blog to be published on the Shoosmiths website.
The atmosphere in the office was very light-hearted, friendly and open. Everyone, including the partners and senior associates, were welcoming and encouraged me to get involved with work they were currently producing. The atmosphere was not stressful in the slightest, which was surprising given the nature of the litigation department in which I was working. The admin staff were again very friendly, and although I was only with the firm for week, made conversation and tried to get to know me as a person.
Given the fact that the insight was only for a week, there wasn't a massive opportunity for the firm to invest in me as an individual other than providing me with a good amount of work and providing feedback on work that I produced. I understand that giving up time to help a vacation scheme student as a partner or senior associate is an investment in itself and I fully appreciated all the support given throughout the week.
Sitting in the litigation department adjacent to the employment department, I was in a very good position to appreciate what it would be like to work at Shoosmiths on a full time basis. I was given my own desk in litigation, and my own log-in to allow me to search the database and produce a high quality of work. Everyone was extremely friendly, and encouraged me to join them for lunch and networking events in the evenings.
The week helped me to understand the company culture tremendously, which seems to be a major focus for Shoosmiths. Their values most definitely align to the open way in which the firm operates in an open-plan setting. As well as first hand experience, I was also given a presentation by HR which elaborated on the way in which Shoosmiths operate and their company culture.
The vacation scheme has been incredibly interesting, and has helped me appreciate the variety of routes that a legal career offers. I had previously only been exposed to maritime law, and therefore I was unsure about what areas I would find interesting at a full-service national law firm such as Shoosmiths. I would encourage those looking to pursue a career in law to be open minded as to practice areas and to grasp every opportunity to help better understand where your interests lie.
I was paid for my time spent at Shoosmiths, which helped me to feel valued as an individual working for the firm. It also meant that the vacation scheme was much for viable for me, as I was able to put myself up in accommodation and also may for travel expenses. The payment for the week easily covered the expenses for accommodation and travel.
There was a networking opportunity on the Wednesday to join the South Hampshire Junior Lawyers Division for the annual BBQ and rounders match. This was a great opportunity to meet other trainees working on and around the South Coast of England. On the Thursday, we went out for a trainee lunch to Wagamama, which was a great opportunity to ask questions to current trainees about their time at the firm thus far.
The networking and social event opportunities were a good way to get to know the other trainees who are currently training with Shoosmiths. Given the location of the Solent Shoosmiths office, there was limited opportunity to network outside of work with the other people working in the office as the business park is accessible only by car. I attended a fun networking event in Southampton with the South Hampshire Junior Lawyers Division, which helped me to appreciate the amount of law regional law firms operating in the area.
I was fortunate to join the office team brief on the Thursday whereby each department gave an update on their respective work and business development initiatives. I was impressed by the amount of business development initiatives that the lawyers working for Shoosmiths get involved with; including speaking at conferences, offering training sessions to existing clients and documenting their initiatives on social media.
I would definitely recommend this insight to a friend as I have been impressed by the friendliness and welcoming attitude of the firm as well as the amount of work and responsibility I have been given over the course of the week. There was ample opportunity to speak to partners and senior associates, and the mini-assignment and presentation task provided a good amount of structure to the week.
Insight / Vacation Scheme (< 4 Weeks)
15th June 2018
Less than £ 10,000