Paralegal at Simmons & Simmons LLP

Insight / Vacation Scheme (< 4 Weeks)
bristol South West
Review Date
£22,000 - £23,999
Banking/Finance Energy Tax Law

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About You
The Organisation
Everything Else


About You

1. To what extent did you enjoy the insight?

I enjoyed the combination of London work and a non-London office. This reflected the ethos of the office, which was very unintimidating and meant that employees were more approachable. I also really liked the open-plan office and the non-hierarchial feel. Even as a vacation scheme candidate I had no qualms in approaching or emailing partners regarding my work or asking general questions about Simmons & Simmons.

Finally the firm was extremely broad in terms of the work I was given. Although I was placed in Litigation, I was able to have a taste of the Funds team and meet more people in the firm.


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

I felt that the work I completed during my week their was genuine work that contributed to real cases. For example, researching the law around privilege in relation to an arbitration for an associate to spotting an error in the Funds team was work I believe was valued and this was reflected in my feedback.


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

I really felt supported by my trainee buddy and supervisor during the scheme. Even though they were busy with their own workloads, taking out the time to give me advice or help me improve my work never came into question and their approachability meant I was never afraid to ask questions.


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

As a graduate I believe this had equipped me with the necessary skills to start as an effective trainee solicitor. I was able to get tips off fee earners, partners and trainees about how to approach competing deadlines and the standard that is expected. I believe this, in combination with my experience, will put me in good stead in the future in a career in law.


The Organisation

5. How well structured was the insight?

The vacation scheme had the right balance between giving us an insight into the firm's culture and work it does as well as time to socialise and learn more about the firm's key sectors through talks and workshops. I did not feel overwhelmed or pressured to complete work in conflict with these sessions.


6. How was the general atmosphere during your insight?

The atmosphere was extremely positive and supportive. There was no sense of competition between myself and the other candidates, unlike other vacation schemes I have done, which I think reflected in the rapport we built with each other and our performance as a whole on the vacation scheme. All other employees were also very supportive and approachable.


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

The firm offered a mixture of workshops and presentation to supplement the type of skills required by trainees. In particular, the compass training session by Gina was enjoyable because it was interactive and demonstrated what skills are necessary in order to be an effective trainee solicitor. Also receiving good quality feedback on my work showed how the firm invested in me.


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 was given multiple different pieces of work which had tight deadlines on my vacation schemes. Although this was only a sample of what it would be like to be a trainee solicitor, I felt that the number of competing deadlines I was given and understanding what the end result should look like was an accurate representation of the work I was given. Also from talking to different fee earners in the firm from tax, banking and financial services, I felt prepared as to what to expect as a trainee. I found my trainee buddy extremely useful in conveying this to me too, who would often stay late and start very early in order to get work done.


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

Speaking and getting to know employees on a personal level rather than superficially helped me gain a good understanding of the type of culture Simmons & Simmons promotes. There is a large amount of independence and little micro-management, which is a type of environment that suits me. I also felt the international element, with the majority of employees speaking another language or having worked extensively abroad. There is no hierarchy, which is demonstrated in the flexi-seat approach.


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

The scheme has confirmed that commercial law is a career I wish to pursue, in particular at a firm that in London-centric. However, I learnt that doing London work does not necessarily mean being in London and the quality of the work does not suffer despite the geographical distance. It has helped me filter the law firms I want to work for, namely international, collaborative and handling complex work but having a relaxed and non-hierarchical personality.


Other Information

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

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

Graduate recruitment organised a number of firm-wide events to network. These included drinks, an escape room, dinner and a partner breakfast. I was also invited to a team lunch and breakfast with my trainee buddy and had the opportunity to celebrate Friday evening with employees from the firm due to the relationships I built over the week.


13. How were the networking/ social event opportunities?

They were well-organised and slotted in effectively between time in our departments. This meant we had a good balance between work and being able to build relationships with people in the firm. Doing the escape room was a good opportunity to demonstrate how well we had built relationships as well as drinks on Friday after work.


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

I spoke with my trainee buddy and other employees in the firm about what Simmons' employees can take part in outside of work. There are a variety of committees, which people are actively encouraged to join and also putting forward new ideas is also encouraged. I was informed about the firm's football team and competitions with local Bristol law firms and invited to celebrate Pride with the firm as it is the firm's first year with a stand at Bristol pride.


15. Would you recommend this insight to a friend?

I would recommend this insight to my peers or friends who are committed to pursuing a career in law at an international firm that deals with high-quality work and requires you to put in a lot of hours, but for those who are not necessarily set on having a London life at this point in their careers.