Vacation scheme over two weeks in two separate departments.
It was a brilliant couple of weeks, with each week spent in a different department. There were many opportunities to get involved in the work that the firm carries out, but also invites to socials and conferences. Everyone was friendly and helpful, and it felt as though I was immersed in the culture of the firm.
The firm ensured that I was given real work to carry out, and took the time to explain how this fit into their cases and what impact it would have. It was encouraging to be given real responsibility and made me feel part of the team. It was a very busy couple of weeks!
The amount differed across the different departments and individuals, but at no point did I feel as though I didn't have anyone to ask for help. The graduate recruitment team also checked in with us regularly. Everyone is very friendly and there was always someone that I could ask if I needed anything.
I learnt a lot about the practical work that a solicitor would carry out. This included how different pieces of work should be phrased (for example, client letters in comparison to a memo to a partner). We also had talks in our induction covering tips for the week and our careers in general.
Our first day was held in the Sheffield office and, whilst great to see the head office, it caused a few problems having to get there from Manchester (the office in which my placement was based). Other than that, graduate recruitment were brilliant and ensured that everything was on schedule.
The atmosphere was very friendly. Having moved offices the day before I started, it was nice that no-one knew their way around yet so everyone was willing to help you find your way! The new office is open plan which means that you get the opportunity to talk to lots of people.
As it is only a two week vacation scheme, there was not a lot of time to focus on this. However, we were given access to their research training, such as Westlaw (especially helpful now that I am back at university!). Our supervising Teams were very helpful with explaining things.
Being given real responsibility, joining in with socials, charity commitments and conferences meant that I have a very good idea of what it would be like to have a full time role. It was a very supportive environment and I would be happy working somewhere with an atmosphere like that.
Irwin Mitchell has a Charities Foundation which is very important in their culture. We were given the opportunity to attend a meeting organising events to support this which gave a good insight into the culture. In addition to this, we attended socials with current trainees and this gave us the opportunity to learn more.
It was very valuable. Prior to the scheme we were asked which areas of law we would be interested in learning more about, and the majority of us on the scheme were given areas that we had chosen. Having been in the Personal Legal Services Stream, I was fascinated by the areas of law that were covered.
The firm paid expenses for the assessment centre (which was a requirement to complete before being offered a place on the vacation scheme). In addition to this, we were paid expenses for our day trip to the Sheffield office for our induction, and paid to cover the two week scheme.
There were many opportunities to network (although these were voluntary, so not everyone attended). For example, there was a pizza making social, a conference (just for the department I was in specifically) and a BAME event at another law firm nearby. We were able to network with employees of this firm and with others firms.
The socials were really good fun. There was a mix of informal and formal socials to allow for us to ask questions. The trainees were very willing to talk to me about their work and what they have enjoyed/not enjoyed so far, which was very helpful. There was always food if we had to stay later as well!
There was a lot of information about the Charities Foundation and the events that are involved with that. I would have liked to have been given more information about their sports teams (as I have since found out that they have a netball team). It would have been nice to have found this out on the scheme so I could ask more questions.
Having attended other vacation schemes, this one stood out for the level of responsibility that I was given. I would definitely recommend applying, as it taught me that I really like the firm and their culture. I also have found that I enjoy areas of law that I may not have originally considered.