Three week Vacation Scheme. The first four days were in the London Office and the rest in the Sheffield office.
I really enjoyed the placement at DLA Piper. I think the week in London was a nice way to start the scheme as you got a lot of good advice from people who are extremely senior in the firm and also got to meet a lot of lovely interns from other offices too.
I think the culture at DLA Piper is one that is very friendly. Throughout the Vacation Scheme every person I spoke to remembered my name, and the trainee partner at Sheffield even revised our names and pictures before we arrived at the office so knew who we were before we had introduced ourselves.
I think during the London week we were left quite on edge as we wasn't sure what was being assessed and what wasn't and how heavily weighted each week was. It often meant you overthought everything that you said and did. However, once you got to the regional office the weekly appraisal ensured that you were aware of how you were progressing. -
I believe the skills I gained won't necessarily help me with my degree but it will definitely help me during any applications to law firms and when doing the LPC/training contract. It gave an insight into pracising law rather than the academic side and understand what is important when assessing law firms and to understand what makes each law firm different.
Generally, I think the insight was structured well however having to come back from London on the Thursday night instead of the Friday seemed a little bit irrational and complicated, especially for those in the Edinburgh office. Also, during the last week of my insight I don't think I had enough time to prove myself to the line manager in comparison to the previous weeks as we had a trip for one afternoon and a few breakfasts that meant I wasn't at my desk.
I think the atmostphere was extremely good and friendly during the insight. The only element that would bring the atmosphere down is the nerves from myself and other interns but that is to be expected in this situaiton. All of the employees at both the London and regional offices were lovely and nice to talk to.
I think the firm invested a lot. Many senior people took the time out of the day to talk to us, either in person or via video conference, and they gave us a lot of good advice. They also ensured we got an insight into each practice area. In three weeks this is obviously a hard task but they did the best they could within the time frame.
It definitely helped me understand the kind of hours a lawyer within DLA Piper may work. The insight allowed us to have exposure to employees of all levels, including trainees, associates, partners, and paralegals/secretaries/etc, therefore you can get a feel for the kind of hours each level requires. You also get an insight into whihc practise area tends to work the most hours.
I really enjoyed the culture at DLA Piper. As mentioned before, we got exposure to many different people within the firm and everyone I met was very down to earth and friendly and I think this reflects well on the firm as a whole. The London week also gave an insight into the kind of corporate responsibility and pro bono initiatives that the firm has too.
I think the content of the day was as good as it could be practically. The insight sessions gave a good insight into what work each service does, whilst the presentation ensured you had to do research into eahc part of the firm. Unfortunately, I don't believe the weekly placements reflected too much the work that a lawyer does in a day, however I believe this is because there is only so much work an intern who has not done any training yet, can do.
There was lots of opportunities to network with grad recruitment, other interns, and people in the firm. In London, the meal times were a great time to network and there were also dinner/breakfasts organised in the regional offices too. It wasn't always easy to speak to every partner that you wanted to as it depends on where they were sat but that is the only negative.
We got told a little bit about some charity events that the firm has done in the past but other than that I'm not sure. We also got told about the girls netball team. I'm not sure if the Sheffield office just doesn't have that many activities outside of work or if we were just not told about them.
I would definitely recommend both the insight and DLA Piper as a whole to a friend. I think the insight gives a great insight into the firm and I have come away thoroughly interested in pursuing DLA Piper further in my career. I think this is a good experience for any student wanting a career in commercial law, even if DLA Piper isn't the firm for them.