1 week Summer Vacation Scheme
I had a brilliant time on the Shoosmiths Summer Vacation Placement. I honestly enjoyed it to a far greater extent than I was expecting, and much of that was due to the friendly staff and the variety of different tasks I was set throughout the week. As well as this, the social events throughout the week were a great opportunity to get to know the people I was working with in a more informal setting.
I felt valued throughout my time at the firm. Despite being in a very busy practice area, I was always kept busy and given different tasks to do. As well as this, I was given tasks which would actually assist the team with different matters, and even different client meetings, which was really rewarding.
As soon as I arrived on the first day, I was met by my host for the week who provided me with ample guidance and support throughout the week. This guidance and support enabled me to get the most out of the placement, and to feel comfortable within the team I was working in.
I have finished my degree studies, so the skills developed won't assist in that regard, but the confidence and practical experience which a placement at Shoosmiths has afforded me is invaluable. It has given me confidence regarding the level of work which I am capable of producing, as well as my presentation skills.
The insight was perfectly structured, with a good amount of tasks set throughout the week, with different induction events and social events to break up the week. At no point did it feel as if I had just been left to get on with it, there was always a structure regarding what tasks to complete on each day.
The atmosphere during the insight was really good, and this was due to the friendliness and helpfulness of all the team around me. The atmosphere inevitably improved as the week progressed, as I got to know people better, but at no point during the week did the atmosphere feel dull or downbeat.
I had meetings with my host throughout the week to find out how I was getting on, whilst halfway through the week I had a really useful phone call from the graduate recruitment officer to let her know how I was feeling about the week and whether there was anything else which I would like to do. This was really useful, and made me feel as if the firm really cared about my experience.
The insight definitely helped me understand what it would be like having a full time role at the firm. Firstly, it gave me an insight into the type of enthusiastic and supportive people I would be working with on a daily basis. Secondly, it gave me an insight into the type of work which I would be doing, and thirdly, it helped me realize the different extra-curricular activities which are offered at the firm.
The insight made me understand the values and culture of the firm which were referred to on the firms website. It made me realize that such values are real, and do actually exist on a daily basis in the firm, rather than just being placed on websites to attract clients.
If I was in any doubt before, it has made me realise how much I want to have a career in the legal profession, as each task, no matter how important or unimportant I found genuinely interesting. As well as this, it made me realise the camaraderie which exists at high-level law firms.
I was paid for the week, but was not reimbursed for travel expenses during the week (train fares etc). However, the firm paid a higher amount that many other firms, so this may be a reason why travel expenses to and from work were not reimbursed. I did overall feel as if I had been suitably rewarded for the work I did during the week.
There were opportunities during each day to talk to people from other departments and find out what jobs they did. However, there weren't any firmwide networking events whilst I was here, which may have given me a greater opportunity to network with other teams. I did still feel as if I had plenty of opportunities to network with others though.
There was a trainee networking lunch on the Tuesday which was really useful and provided an added insight into what life is like as a trainee, however there were not any post-work social event/networking opportunities. There perhaps could have been a couple more networking events in order to get to know people from all around the firm.
From the first morning of the placement, I was given ample information about the different extra-curricular activities you can get up to at Shoosmiths, be it within the firm, or with a vast number of different clients. This appealed to me as I enjoy extra-curricular activities to a great extent.
I would wholeheartedly recommend this placement to a friend. If you want an insight into what the legal profession is like, without feeling as if you are constantly under pressure and constantly being assessed, this is a perfect placement. If I'd have known how enjoyable it was before the week started, I would have felt a lot less anxious about the placement.