Vacation Scheme at Herbert Smith Freehills

Insight / Vacation Scheme (< 4 Weeks)
London Central London and City
Review Date
Less than £ 10,000
Banking and Finance Law Property Law


About You
The Organisation
Everything Else


About You

Role Description

Vacation Scheme placement at Herbert Smith Freehills

1. To what extent did you enjoy the insight?

Greatly enjoyed the scheme. The events were well co-ordinated, and we were looked after well. The regular spread of events meant there was always something to look forward to. I particularly enjoyed the Murder Mystery Activity which was different and fun, as well as the event at the Aviary - a superb venue.


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

Largely, I felt valued during my time here. Generally, the people were really nice, helpful and often went out of their way to help me. There were of course the odd individuals who did not seem to care, which put a downer on the whole experience. The number of partners that turned up to events was a real positive!


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

In terms of organisation, settling in, and finding my way around, I received great support. When it came to the work, however, it was more inconsistent. In my first seat, I received fairly good support when needed and was able to ask questions. In my second seat, I was often given a task with little direction and little opportunity to ask for help.


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

The skills developed are unlikely to assist me much in my degree, and may help to a limited extent in terms of my future career. The information received, however, will be hugely beneficial beyond my degree as I received lots of advice about what I should be doing before and after starting work at a law firm.


The Organisation

5. How well structured was the insight?

Largely well structured; the events were evenly spread out and we were given timely reminders and notified of changes regularly. The seat transition could have been made smoother, particularly as trainees did not get in contact which left some of us unsure about where to go as we switched seats.


6. How was the general atmosphere during your insight?

The general atmosphere was positive, among my colleagues and in my seats. Everyone seemed to get on well, and the people at the firm, on the whole, were extremely welcoming and helpful. There were occasions were the atmosphere was dampened, with certain individuals giving presentations, for example, seemingly not very interested.


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

Not very much. I don't feel there was much to actually help foster and develop specific skills. Often work was given to me with little instruction, and I received little feedback on how to improve and develop. At other times, the work was far too basic and not intellectually stimulating.


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?

To a limited extent, yes. I was able to witness what other lawyers were doing, especially my supervisor and trainee buddy. But given the lack of genuine work I received, I was not able to get a strong idea of that actual type of work I would be doing. I have left with gaps in my understanding of how the role would actually be.


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

Completely. My experiences talking to so many people gave my a fuller insight into the company's culture, which is definitely as advertised - friendly and people-orientated. I was glad to see the honesty of some, who did admit that racial diversity needed to increase and was relatively poor. On the whole, people were very friendly, but there were certainly some who tarnished this view.


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

Not very helpful as I was already pretty convinced on this career path. However, it reinforced some the reasons why. The lack of real work that I got to do did mean that I was not able to fully reinforce/change my opinion on my career path, however. Talking to people was the greatest tool in understanding the realities of the role.


Other Information

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

Definitely adequate. However, we were meant to be paid for approx. 9:30-5:30. Often we started at 8:45 and did not leave the office till after 6:30. However, overall, the pay was certainly adequate given the experience, the opportunities, and the real effort put into the scheme by the relevant people.

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

There were countless opportunities to network and meet an array of people at the firm. This was a real strength of the scheme, allowing me to get a really full, diverse set of opinions and have man of my questions answered by different people. Senior employees seemed to make a real effort at these events which was great to see.


13. How were the networking/ social event opportunities?

Yes, as above. Really impressed by the number of and quality of the social opportunities.


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

Yes. There was a networks fair which I thought was a great touch, although could have been organised a bit better. There was also the trainee Q+A where we were given a detailed insight into the type of things trainees get up to, outside of work and that was really useful.


15. Would you recommend this insight to a friend?

I would highly recommend this programme to a friend if they were interested in law and wanted a basic insight into the role. However, if a friend had experience, e.g. having done a vac scheme elsewhere, I may not recommend it unless HSF was their favourite firm. There wasn't much development beyond what I already new, apart from lots of information about the firm.