Vacation Scheme Student at Herbert Smith Freehills

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


About You
The Organisation
Everything Else


About You

1. To what extent did you enjoy the insight?

The scheme provided a well balanced and rounded view of the firm, giving experience in two seats over the three weeks. Seat choices were generally given, and those who didn't get their top choices still ended up enjoying what they did. Getting a sense of the firm culture was easy throughout the three weeks.


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

A lot of effort was put into making the vacation schemers feel part of the teams they sat in. Trainees gave introductions to many of the senior associates/partners in the team, which made it a lot easier to approach them during the scheme. Many members of the firm also came to the social events.


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

Support from grad recruitment was excellent, giving us guidance and information throughout. Sitting with a highly experienced supervisor was really beneficial, and they were all willing to give their time and explain things to us. Each person is assigned a trainee buddy, which is ideal as a point of contact, and someone to get work from.


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

Much of the work done is not directly related to academic pursuits, so the relevance to one's degree is somewhat limited. However, real work was given to us all, which allowed us to see the commercial underpinnings of the work done. This, as well as understanding the cultural dynamic of the firm, gives a great insight into what life at the firm may be like as a trainee and beyond.


The Organisation

5. How well structured was the insight?

Talks were given nearly every morning for the first two weeks. These tended to be on either practice groups, or other areas of the firm. Practice group talks were varied in their approach, with the better ones giving actual examples of the work done, rather than discussions in the abstract. Other area talks included pro bono, tech, and a discussion with the firm's Senior Partner.


6. How was the general atmosphere during your insight?

Everyone was generally glad to have vac schemers there, inviting us to their own social events, not necessarily tied to our schedules. This was extremely welcoming, and did well to integrate us all within the firm. Supervisors were generally very welcoming, and passed on work where appropriate. Trainees were excellent in this respect, introducing us to many within the firm.


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

Talks were given nearly every day on a practice group, or another part of the firm. This was a good opportunity to learn about an area of the firm in a short space of time, whilst also giving the chance to speak to people further in certain areas which were particularly interesting.


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?

The firm did well to give us an opportunity to understand the culture of the firm, and get to know the people within it, through socials, and sitting us with senior members of the firm. It was slightly harder in respect to work, which may not reflect that of a trainee (trainees obviously have more time to build knowledge, before working on particular tasks). Regardless, where work was appropriate, it was given.


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

The vacation scheme was just the right length of time to get to know a few people, and understand the way the firm operates, without becoming overwhelming. Social events were really helpful in this respect, providing a more relaxed environment in which to get to know people, and foster relationships.


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



Other Information

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

£400 per week

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

Four social events were hosted during the scheme. These were all well attended by members of the firm. I particularly enjoyed that these were not too overwhelming, often being smaller drinks events. This meant people could actually have conversations, which often led on to working together on things in the following days.


13. How were the networking/ social event opportunities?

I particularly appreciated the effort that even senior members of the firm went to, attending many of the social events on offer. This was an ideal environment in which to first talk to them, making them much more approachable when returning to the office. One criticism would be the timing, as hosting solely evening events can make days significantly longer.


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

A 'networks' session was held, in which the various community networks were discussed - e.g. family; military; BAME etc. However, the firm could improve on advertising the wider range of activities which are present, such as sports teams and other social groups. We heard through trainees of these, but a clearer way of understanding these would be good.


15. Would you recommend this insight to a friend?

Yes. The scheme offered the best opportunity to understand the actual workings of the firm, and the culture. A good mix of people and work made the experience really enjoyable. The scheme did well to not only teach us about different areas more theoretically, but also showed us practically how these came together.