I found the scheme to be both very enjoyable, and particularly useful as an insight to the firm. The three-week scheme is longer than many, but allowed me to sit in three departments (corporate, international arbitration, and IP), so I was able to experience the breadth of expertise the firm has to offer.
This was one of many aspects that Hogan Lovells impressed me with. Everyone was approachable, and came across as genuinely pleased that you were there. Your opinion was valued and directly sought in relation to matters that you were involved in. Graduate recruitment, trainees, supervisors, and partners were all engaged and interested in you throughout the process.
I received a good amount of guidance and support. The level of the work was well pitched, and supervisors were keen to get us as actively involved in cases/transactions as we could handle. There was good balance between making sure we understood the task at hand, and allowing us the time to crack on with it. At any point I felt free to ask for clarification, and if a supervisor was busy or on a call, I could just walk down the hall to a trainee.
Having already completed the GDL (coming from a science, not law, background) this vacation scheme was about seeing a large corporate law firm, and having the opportunity to go for a training contract. Given that the firm recruit predominantly from the vacation scheme, the three weeks spent with them were invaluable.
The three-week scheme was very well structured. Each week was spent with a different department, so I was able to see three very distinct areas of practice. For me this was corporate (private equity focus), international arbitration, and IP. Other had completely different areas. The scheme was well-balanced between talks, good social events, and leaving enough time to actually complete some work for the supervisors.
I was very pleased to discover how good the culture of the firm was. There is the concern that when you go to a corporate firm the size of Hogan Lovells that the atmosphere may be competitive and/or have a face-time culture. This could not be further from what I experienced. Everyone was very friendly and approachable, and incredibly knowledgeable and intelligent at the same time.
I would say that the firm's investment in each individual was high, and this is probably reflected by the fact that they recruit predominantly off of the back of the vacation scheme. There were multiple talks or workshops every week (normally something each day), ranging from Q&A with the managing partner for London & Africa, finance case studies, and advocacy skills.
As a vacation scheme student, you were treated very much as though you were already a trainee in terms of the work you were asked to do (the expectations were possibly more fluid). You were included, and valued, and this is (I think) indicative of the reality of working with Hogan Lovells.
It may be slightly difficult to gauge from the perspective that as a vacation scheme student, you do lots of extra events, talks, workshops, and you get wined and dined rather well! Every experience and interaction I had with people at the firm was positive, and the culture is one of high performance, without the face-time requirement (of course, there will be long hours occasionally).
The vacation scheme fully validated my decision to change career from a scientific background to go into corporate and commercial law. In that sense, the content of the scheme was of high value. Most come to the scheme already knowing they want a training contract, as this is typically further down the line than an insight.
Whilst on the scheme you are paid fairly and competitively compared to other firms. You are expected to sort out where you will live, and how to get to and from work (just like a normal job).
There was a heavy focus on networking and meeting other members of staff. You are assigned a trainee mentor/buddy for the three weeks, but you also meet lots of people in each department in which you sit. Each time I changed department, a member of the team would introduce me to as many people as possible. There were also dedicated networking event with trainees, and weekly 'partner lunches' to facilitate networking with senior levels.
Social events were good fun (I won't spoil them here if you are looking to apply). Trainees attend the more casual social events so that you have the chance to network and ask any questions outside of the office that you may not wish to ask a partner (although I felt that everyone was very open, so I could ask anyone). The farewell event is very nice, and this is attended by partners and graduate recruitment.
This is perhaps one area that could be slightly expanded upon. Obviously I would talk to people and find out a number of their interests, but the focus is understandably on the firm. I understand that there are many sports teams that staff are involved with. Pro bono and citizenship work is a big part of this firm, and there were dedicated sessions explaining how the firm get involved in this.
100 % I would recommend this scheme to a friend.
Insight / Vacation Scheme (< 4 Weeks)
Commercial Law, Corporate Law, Intellectual Property Law
12th July 2018