The scheme was well structured and gave a good feel for the firm. The length of time is really great, and allows you to see quite a lot from the firm. People are very friendly, and most are expecting vacation scheme students, meaning you don't feel like too much of an outsider.
Socially, things were really great, and people try to get you involved as much as possible. I was invited to department drinks and parties, independently from the vacation scheme schedule. In regard to work, there can be limitations due to a lack of experience or knowledge. Generally, people try to get you involved.
Support is definitely felt, and there are many people who pass you work etc. You sit with a supervisor, generally a senior associate. You also get a trainee buddy for each seat, who are great to talk to for work, and to get a better feel of the trainee experience at the firm.
A lot of the work done is far from academic, so not much will help your degree. However, the 'soft skills' developed are great. Building a network of people has been really simple, as everyone is willing to share their experiences, and help where possible. The scheme is an ideal length of time to make an informed judgment on where one hopes to work.
There were talks nearly every morning for the first two weeks from firm departments, as well as additional sessions on the training contract, pro bono, and the firm's technological development goals. There were also some late afternoon sessions - these were substantively good, but the timing was poor as everyone is rather tired by this point.
The firm is extremely friendly, and wants individuals to succeed. Everyone speaks to each other a lot, and there are a lot of people dipping in and out of the office everyday to catch up. The collegiate environment here is tangible, and you can tell that people genuinely want to be at work.
The firm sits you with a supervisor for your whole time there. This is obviously a lot of additional work for them, as they have to spend time talking things through etc. However, everyone was really willing to do so, and interested in one's development. Feedback sessions were held at the end of each seat, allowing you to understand points to improve on.
I don't think the work itself that we were doing was really reflective of the typical trainees work. However, speaking to them allows you to gauge what it is they really do, what their work/life balance is like, and how they feel they are treated by the firm after joining.
It's really difficult to gauge the culture of a firm without spending an extended period of time in it. Three weeks was a great length of time, as you have the chance to build slightly more meaningful relationships with people, and understand their true motivations and opinions on the firm.
There were four social events throughout the scheme, three of which were attended by members of the firm. They were relatively well attended, and people wanted to be there and speak to us. There was a good range of different activities, as well as more casual events such as drinks etc.
Substantively, the events were good. There was a high turnout from even very senior members of the firm, who were willing to chat in a more relaxed setting. This made it much easier to approach them with questions. I would say that having these in the evening all the time made it difficult for some, especially with other commitments after work.
Insight / Vacation Scheme (< 4 Weeks)
5th July 2019