3 Week placement with CMS, one week in London and two weeks sat in a seat in your chosen regional office.
I enjoyed my scheme greatly: I had the opportunity to do real work and support trainees. I also had the opportunity to network with vac schemers from the other offices in the first academy week, making it feel like we were all part of the firm. I also had the opportunity to visit clients and take part in a simulation exercise, which I enjoyed.
The firm went out of its way to make us feel valued and like we were making a contribution to the future of the firm. We were able to pitch our ideas for making the company the most diverse firm in the world, with the winning idea being actually implemented.
I was paired with a trainee buddy, who helped me daily with support and provided me with tasks. My supervisor also provided me with enough work to do, and I felt that I always had someone to ask if I was struggling. I was also able to approach other members of the team, who encouraged us to take on work and helped us along the way.
As a law student, it was interesting to see how law in practice differed from my degree. I found that I developed a much more practical skillset and the ability to think about what the individual client wants and how this can be achieved through the law. I learnt about Real Estate trends, and how to draft licences and leases.
The first week was incredibly well structured. We had a packed schedule of talks, activities and social events daily, with only one evening off. The second two weeks were more relaxed, but a welcome contrast to the intense first week. They were also representative of real working life, with work being presented as it arose rather than everything heavily structured.
The general atmosphere in the first week was incredibly energetic, positive and future orientated. This was due to the high number of vacation schemers, and the topic of the week as the 'future of law'. The second and third week in the regional office was a lot more relaxed, but everyone was friendly, and worked hard.
The firm clearly invested a lot in each of us, particularly during the first week. I feel that they gave me opportunities that I would not experience in any other firm - such as the chance to take part in a high tech deal simulation, and lead a meeting with a high profile client in their offices. This greatly improved my confidence and ability to perform in a corporate setting.
The first week was clearly not representative of daily life of the firm, but I felt it was definitely a worthwhile and interesting addition to your traditional vacation scheme. The second two weeks were more representative of real life at the firm as we were given real tasks and flexibility to work.
The insight helped greatly on understanding company culture, particularly the talks that we were given about topics clearly important to the firm, such as diversity networks, and corporate responsibility dinners. Generally, it was clear from meeting people that the culture was friendly, inclusive and a very positive environment to work in.
The content was generally very representative of what life would be like as a trainee in the transactional real estate team. However, it may have been useful to gain experience of other departments as the experiences that other vacation schemers at the firm had were quite different. It did however cement my interest in working at a law firm.
We were paid £350 which is adequate, especially if you had to fund accommodation for the weeks in your chosen office. The week in London was especially well planned as we received free accommodation in a central apartment and received most of our meals for free provided by the firm.
The first week of the scheme was based in the London office with all regional offices coming together, which was a great opportunity to meet people from all offices of the firm. Furthermore, the social events in the evening involved different partners, associates and trainees which gave us the opportunity to socialise with multiple employees.
The networking and social events were fun and a great opportunity to find out more about the firm, such as the corporate social responsibility dinner, and our dinner in the Bristol office with the trainees and graduate recruitment. A few of the socials were potentially slightly patronising (such as a collaborative painting), but they were creative and did make us work in a team.
Yes, there were newsletters available that discussed volunteering challenges and sports events. However, it did seem like a lot of the events were London centred, such as women's netball and hockey teams, perhaps due to the smaller size of the regional offices. It also seemed like one of the main social activity that we could get involved in was football, so slightly biased to men.
I would recommend this insight to a friend. It provides a clear view of the challenges and opportunities of the legal industry, which is not something that is provided in a normal vacation scheme. It is also clear that the firm invests a lot of resources into the students and wants you to succeed.