It was an amazing two week experience to get a first hand insight into the functioning, culture and practice of an international law firm. The people I met were truly passionate about their work and were always very welcoming. In addition, I got to get involved in some really high quality and varied work during my time at the firm.
The people in my team were very welcoming from the get go. I got this impression throughout the firm, not only on our induction at the London office, but also from the graduate recruitment team and the Birmingham office. My supervisor, trainee buddy and the rest of the team were always willing to give up time to explain the background and relevant law.
I was always given the background before starting any piece of work. This allowed me to get a better understanding of the matter and especially helped in any research tasks. Too many questions was never a problem, and everyone was always happy to assist me no matter what level of seniority. This made me feel truly valued in the team.
The experience has really opened my eyes as to how varied and diverse a commercial law career can be. It has also alerted me to the advantages of working as a paralegal before commencing my training contract as it would increase my confidence and experience of working in an international law firm.
By spending two weeks in the same department, I believe I got a better understanding of the work that they undertook. The two weeks were structured with an insight at the London offices allowing all the vacation scheme students from around the UK to meet each other and an opportunity to network with the London trainees. Returning to the local office, we again received a warm induction and a welcome talk. During the vacation scheme there were numerous social events such as lunches and after work socials organised by the trainees - another great opportunity to meet more people!
The atmosphere was pleasant throughout my vacation scheme. Trainees really went out of their way and offered meeting up to answer any questions that we had. This was one of the things that really made the firm stand out from it's competitors and was noted by the other vacation scheme students as well.
My team allowed me to attend several client meetings and phone conferences. This client contact really allowed me to see the professional service expected of solicitors and the lawyer- client interaction. I was given training at the beginning of my vacation placement to ensure that I knew how the systems functioned. When required, my supervisor would explain any relevant area of law that I was unfamiliar with.
It helped me understand the type of clients I would be dealing with, how to prioritise the demands of clients and how to deal professionally with these matters. It also gave a great insight into what commercial awareness in practice actually is. It also showed me the commitments that have to be made and the working hours and culture that is expected.
The vacation scheme really helped me understand the company culture. We were first told about it during our induction as well as being reminded of the firm's culture in our handbook. During my time in my seat I could really see the culture of the firm reflected in the way tasks were approached and the communication with clients.
Although during my insight I was given an in depth insight into the department I was sat in, it did not stop me from asking and finding out more about the different areas of the firm. This was both from trainees, paralegals, partners and associates. The networking events that were organised for us really helped in this regard.
They were lots of fun and a great way to unwind after a long day at work. It was another way to get to socialise with the trainees outside of work hours. The activities we did such as ghetto golf were inclusive for all!
We found out about charity, family, diversity and sporting events that the firm takes part in on a regular basis. We also got invited to attend a video conference from the head office about the firm's latest charity trip abroad. It was great to see that the firm gives back to the community.
Insight / Vacation Scheme (< 4 Weeks)