3 week summer placement working at DLA Piper
The scheme has exceeded all my expectations with respect to both enjoyment and insight. Each week has been slightly different and I have enjoyed each for slightly different reasons.
Week 1: The induction in London was a brilliant opportunity to get to know the firm itself as well as the interns i would be working alongside. The presentations and workshops were all exceptionally interesting and the whole process ran very smoothly. It allowed me to feel more relaxed and prepared when I arrived at the Manchester office.
Weeks 2 and 3: Weeks 2 and 3 have been focused on us spending time in specific DLA departments. For me, these have been employment and real estate. The opportunities I have been given to get involved in real work as well as the opportunities to communicate with lawyers on a personal level have made these two weeks extremely enjoyable. I have been getting up in the morning looking forward to arriving at work and I think that says a lot about the quality of the scheme.
Everyone at DLA has made us feel like a valuable part of the firm. From the grad recruitment team to our buddies, and everyone in between, people have dedicated time and effort to talking to me and making sure that I gain the best possible insight into life at DLA.
The support began before the insight even started when my buddy got into contact with me and we went for a coffee to discuss the upcoming weeks and how I should approach it. Upon arrival we were greeted at the hotel by the graduate recruitment team and from this moment on every student has been guided through the process.
Week 1: During week 1, we were given a variety of presentations. These included pro bono/responsible business, mental health and wellbeing, and a networking/public speaking workshop. I genuinely feel as though I left London as a more confident and rounded individual and I have used the the advice we were given during my time in Manchester. For example, I have used networking/public speaking workshop given by Lee Warren as guidance when presenting in front of partners, and talking to trainees/associates at works drinks.
Weeks 2 and 3: I now understand the standard expected of employees at DLA Piper. Whatever work I have undertaken, I have been given genuinely useful feedback on it and I have taken it on board and sought to improve the next time I do a similar task. For example, when drafting client emails I have learnt how to be more concise, and to distill the information down to what the client actually wants.
The 3 week insight has been incredibly well structured.
Whilst each week has been different and enjoyable for varying reasons, there has been a continuity which means the whole process feels like one journey. I think that the contact with the other offices and graduate recruitment through video conferencing has helped ensure that continuity and ensure that everyone feels part of the same process.
I think there have been two outstanding aspects of the atmosphere.
Firstly, the supportive nature of the scheme has allowed me to feel comfortable whilst at the office and confident enough in myself to ask any questing that I need.
Second, there is still an underlying professionalism throughout the office which has motivated me to offer as much as I can to the tasks I'm given.
The firm has offered significant opportunity for personal training and development both at the London office and here in Manchester. The fact that the most senior partners at the firm have dedicated time to talking with us is a reflection of the way DLA as a whole has invested in us during these three weeks.
Spending time in two different practice groups has given me an insight into life as a lawyer at the firm. I have been exposed to interesting and important work, and collaborated with the sort of people I am aspiring to be like.
Equally, being able to ask questions, and spending time with trainees and other employees on a more personal level has enabled me to ask any questions that I have about life at the firm.
The culture at DLA is something that is instantly recognizable the minute you set foot in the office. The length of the scheme allows you to feel part of this culture for a significant amount of time and I think you genuinely feel part of it by the end. The culture is collaborative and supportive but also incredibly focused on improvement and quality. It is a great place to work.
The scheme has confirmed to me why I am pursuing a career in the law. It is a dynamic profession filled with interesting and engaging people. For me, the chance to tackle meaningful work on a daily basis is extremely exciting and motivating. I can think of no career which offers the same opportunities in terms of personal growth and enjoyment.
I feel as though we have been extremely well paid and reimbursed during this scheme. The pay itself is extremely generous, however the provision of food, accommodation and travel expenses is something that I wouldn't have expected and I know other firms do not provide. Again, this is a reflection of the value DLA places on its vacation scheme students and the support given to them.
The entire process has been underpinned by the need to meet new people and introduce yourself to them. In order to properly understand a firm you must understand the way it works and the people who work there. DLA understands this and has therefore provided significant opportunities for networking both in London and at the regional offices.
These events were well organised and enjoyable. Further, the firm made an effort to ensure that they weren't always the same. I feel as though networking and socials can often follow a similar pattern but at DLA they were extremely varied. This made it easier to engage with them and actually enjoy it. For example, in London we went for a curry with partners. While in Manchester, networking events included tapas and Friday evening drinks.
This amounted to a significant amount of the time we spent in London. In particular, we were made aware of the pro bono opportunities available to employees of DLA Piper.
Alongside this, we were encouraged to get involved in extra-curricular activities while in Manchester. I even played for the firm's cricket team on one of the evenings.
I couldn't recommend the scheme highly enough. For anyone who is interested in a career in law, or a career at DLA Piper it is an incredible opportunity. Even if I am not offered a job at the end of the process, I will be able to look back on the last 3 weeks and say it was a brilliant opportunity. I have learnt so much and met a number of amazing people.
Insight / Vacation Scheme (< 4 Weeks)
Employment Law, Market Research, Property Law
10th July 2019
Less than £ 10,000