Two week Summer Vacation Scheme Placement.
The two weeks at Gateley Plc in the Leicester office I found a very rewarding but challenging experience and was very encouraged throughout it. I got a range of experience in a variety of departments and how a successful commercial firm like Gateley operates and was able to feel part of a team. I was given substantial tasks which certainly stretched my ability but was very good for me to develop academically.
A vacation scheme is quite different from normal work experience because you have a structured timetable and you are given lots to do - this is certainly a positive. Everybody in the office, whether a solicitor or not, was incredibly friendly and keen to make me welcome. It was lovely because they clearly understood this was a scary experience but were very encouraging and were friendly.
During the vacation scheme, I was given enough support in the sense that I knew what I had to do, but there was also the expectation that I should ask questions if I didn’t understand and not sit there and worry which is definitley an important skill to learn. It is very important to do this.
One of the key things I learnt whilst doing the internship was the importance of when researching things for clients that they don’t want to know about the law and what the latest case was. What they are bothered about are the practical considerations that affect them and their business - this is certainly a skill that I can use in my degree and the Legal Advice Clinic.
I thought the vacation scheme was fairly well structured. On the first day we were given a timetable of what we had to do. One thing I think could be improved is that our supervisors should be briefed more on what we’re doing. A lot of the time I was unable to do what was in the timetable because my supervisor had given me work. If they knew what I was meant to be doing this wouldn’t have been such an issue.
At first I felt rather nervous but as the vacation scheme went on the atmosphere was incredibly friendly and all of the staff were very welcoming. In the second week, I enjoyed going on the Real estate Way day with the department which was very fun and I felt very included in all of the activities.
It gave me a valuable insight into working in the firm. A lot of what I was doing was what a trainee would do and I did quite a bit of work alongside the trainees. We even had to help organise a couple of socials with them, which was fun.
The vac scheme displayed to me how Gateley operates as a firm and what is important to them. It is clear that they are collaborative across the teams and offices and everybody is willing to help when you are stuck. It is clear that if you are more junior it does not matter because everybody is treated the same.
The work that I did was very important in my general experience. However, my passion is family law and I was a bit disappointed that I was unable to shadow anybody in that department as I have no experience of family law in a large commercial firm. Apart from that it was helpful.
I was very pleased that Gateley are paying me and reimbursed me with my train fare to Birmingham, however they did not reimburse me for my train to Leicester. I am very happy with the wage we are getting paid - as well as the experience it is decent because it takes a lot of time for us. S
There was one opportunity I went to that was a networking event for Leicestershire Junior Lawyers which was a very fun and sociable event. I was honoured that I got to go considering I am not a solicitor. It was good to meet other people that are in the East Midlands.
I found them very good and successful. I was concerned because I didn’t know anybody but it was very welcoming and not awkward at all. It can be difficult in situations like that, however it was very good. The trainee solicitors also organised a couple of extra socials which we were part of which was very good also.
Yes, the trainee solicitors very much kept us in the loop and invited us to anything that was going on. There is also a monthly newsletter which I was involved in writing which was a good opportunity. It allowed me to understand what else the firm does outside of work.
I would definitley recommend this to a friend because you are exposed to a range of experience and it is such a good opportunity. You do only get out what you put in.