Vacation scheme student at Simmons & Simmons LLP

Insight / Vacation Scheme (< 4 Weeks)
London Central London and City
Review Date
Less than £ 10,000
Banking and Finance Law Commercial Law Intellectual Property Law

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About You
The Organisation
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About You

Role Description

Vacation scheme student

1. To what extent did you enjoy the insight?

I did enjoy the vacation scheme with Simmons and Simmons. This was not my first scheme, so it was useful to be able to compare the various schemes completed to date.

Generally, I found the people friendly and the work was quite interesting, too. Some areas which should be improved.


2. To what extent did you feel valued during your time at the company or firm?

For me, this varied depending whom you were working with/for. You have a trainee mentor for each week, and a supervisor. Both of my mentors and supervisors were great. They were friendly and intelligent.

Some others interacted with had an ego the size of the room, and were quite rude (this was just one experience for me, but it has stayed with me).


3. How much guidance/support did you receive during the insight?

This really varies depending on how busy your supervisor is. Strangely, I did not sit in an office with either my trainee mentor or supervisor in the first week, which was just a massive missed opportunity for the firm to get to know me, and for me to be able to ask more informal questions. If I had questions, I felt I could go and ask.


4. To what extent did/will the skills you developed, and information you received, assist you in your degree studies and beyond?

More than the skills, it’s the insight into the firm that will help me the most.

I did further develop skills of legal application (nothing pr pares you for working in a law firm better than, well... working in a law firm). The difference between academic law and commercial is an important one to pick up.


The Organisation

5. How well structured was the insight?

I felt that the structure was fine in itself, but the process could have been made clearer earlier on.

There was a good mixture of talks and time to work in the department in which you were sat. The talks, however, were not fantastic. Some were good (TMT case study), others were more being lectured at for how we should behave (not positive).


6. How was the general atmosphere during your insight?

The general atmosphere was fair to friendly in my opinion. But when compared to other insight schemes / vacation schemes that I have been on, this is where Simmons & Simmons fell down.

I had a particularly negative/rude experience with a very senior partner in the firm where they were rude directly to my face, and then ride several times to my supervisor.


7. In terms of personal training and development, to what extent did the company or firm invest in you?

I would say this was average. I felt that neither did they particularly invest in you, or neglect you. There were some sessions aimed to help (such as basic legal research), but for the most part you were left to your own devices. I suppose this is a way of working out who performs well, but that’s really just coming down to previous work-place experience.


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?

I think this is very clear, and that’s a good thing. I think that we were treated very much like trainees (albeit with shorter hours).

People would ask you to complete tasks that they would ask a trainee to do, you would get involved in calls with expert witnesses, and there were even vacation scheme students getting involved in the firm cricket team!


9. How much did the insight help you in understanding the company culture?

I think the vacation scheme gave a very clear insight into the culture of the firm. This is neither a positive nor negative thing, just a clear picture. It’s good to see the culture, but it was not necessarily the best culture (this is very subjective). It ranged from fantastic, to really quite poor. I did hear a number of people with both very positive, and very negative experiences.


10. How valuable was the content of the day in helping you to decide on your future career path?

This was quite good, but neither make or break for me, by this stage in the game, people on a vacation scheme know they want to do law, they know they want to be a solicitor (for the most part), and they probably know they want a large, international, commercial law firm (otherwise you’re unlikely to get on the scheme).


Other Information

11. Were you paid or reimbursed adequately for this experience?

Slightly less that other large City firms perhaps, but generally fair. They actually pay each week rather than aligned with full time workers at the end of the month so that was very good.

12. Were there opportunities for networking and meeting other employees of the company or firm?

This was quite good. Multiple lunches and breakfasts with trainees, HR/grad recruitment, and dedicated networking events.

Sometimes I think it could have been structured better. For example, one session about training contracts had a section for Q&As with current trainees, but graduate recruitment (who are also responsible for selecting those trainees’ seats) stayed in the room. That’s not conductive of an open and honest question session (kudos to the trainee who was honest anyway).


13. How were the networking/ social event opportunities?

These were pretty good. We did a few social events. Actually, two per week, which is quite a lot (this is a good thing), a group of us ended up watching the World Cup final togethter, too. We went chocolate making which was really good fun.

The final farewell event was very nice, too.


14. Did you find out about activities that employees can get involved in outside of work?

I found out a little about this. I understand that there are a few sports team, but these may have fallen by the way side a bit.

It would perhaps have been good to find out more, and if it doesn’t exist, strengthen this, as this is part of the culture.


15. Would you recommend this insight to a friend?

I would recommend this scheme to a friend. Generally, I enjoyed the scheme and it was good fun. It was probably not my favourite scheme, but take that with a pinch of salt because every firm does have a different culture, and it’s about finding the one that suits yo the best, and that is what a vacation scheme is for.