I thoroughly enjoyed the winter vacation scheme that I completed with Linklaters. From the very first interview until the last social event and farewell I felt that I had gained an invaluable insight into not just commercial law but also the culture and practices of Linklaters specifically. Everyone was extremely welcoming and I met some friends for life.
At such a large commercial law firm, I think there can be a misconception that you will not be working on big deals or doing work of tangible value. However, I did not find this at all. I found that the work that I completed was not only valued by my principal, but would be genuinely helpful for those I worked with within the department. In addition, being trusted to work on such high profile and exciting cases will inevitably make you feel valued, as I did.
My principal was extremely present and supportive (despite obviously being very busy) and my trainee buddy was also excellent and on hand to answer questions or grab coffee. I was also surprised that the partner who had interviewed me even checked in to see how I was doing during the vac scheme which really shows the supportive culture at Linklaters. In addition, whilst I was on the vacation scheme I unfortunately got sick. During this time, graduate recruitment were extremely kind and reassuring.
I had actually graduated from my undergraduate degree when I undertook the vacation scheme at Linklaters. However, now studying the mini legal project we undertook was an invaluable start to learning about commercial law. I also improved my practical skills of working in a law firm as well as my time-management (as there is a lot to do in two weeks!) and written professional communication.
It was very well structured, we were given a programme at the beginning of the two weeks and we always knew what was going on. Graduate recruitment were excellent and always in contact with us to let us know of any changes to our diary and organised both formal networking and informal social events throughout the scheme which made things exciting.
The general atmosphere was great, I cannot fault Linklaters as a workplace and my time spent on the scheme learning about "team Linklaters" made me certain that this was the law firm for me. Everyone, at all levels, was friendly and welcoming and on hand to help you if you needed. Being in the office at Christmas was especially enjoyable, too.
The company invested in us throughout. We had multiple informative department presentations, events and tasks aimed at improving our knowledge of areas that we did not get a change to sit in. We also completed group tasks and a pitch exercise which was a new experience for a lot of us (including myself) and one I thoroughly enjoyed.
Everyone was really upfront about their experiences of working for Linklaters and there were numerous networking activities. So, as well as gaining my own insight and opinions throughout the scheme, the views of others were available to help me understand what life is really like working for a magic circle law firm.
Obviously the best way to understand the culture of the company is to experience it first hand, which the vacation scheme helped me to do. I was impressed with how inclusive and genuinely non-hierarchical it felt throughout (including from the very first interview). There also appeared to be a genuine open door policy in my department and a real sense of collegiality and teamwork throughout.
The experience helped me not only determine my desire to work for a large commercial law firm, but Linklaters specifically. I also enjoyed the work I undertook so much in my department it furthered my interest in being a lawyer in that specific area of practice. So, it was very valuable indeed.
We were paid very generously throughout the scheme and fully reimbursed for any necessary expenses.
As previously stated, there were numerous opportunities to meet people from different departments within the firm. This included partners, associates and trainees. I also enjoyed chatting to those from the business services and found that everyone that I met whether formally or informally was happy to give advice and share their experiences.
These were really good - there were a great variety of events and dinners throughout which were a great addition to the scheme and provided an opportunity to relax too. They were also a great chance to meet and socialise with vacation schemers from some of the international schemes, too.
Yes, there appeared to be lots of activities for employees to get involved with outside of work at Linklaters. However, I might have found out more during a longer summer scheme!
Without a doubt, the experience was amazing and extremely invaluable for all the reasons previously stated!