The scheme provided a good insight in to the work which the firm does, and the kinds of tasks that would be expected of a trainee solicitor. Overall, the culture was inclusive and welcoming, both from the employees at the firm, and the other Vacation Scheme students, and this made the placement a highly enjoyable experience.
Throughout my time in the team I was delegated a variety of interesting tasks. Feedback on these was good, and I was able to see the finished product that was delivered to the Partners/Clients. This helped me to understand the value of my contribution, and made me feel that I was genuienly helpful to the team.
My Senior Associate supervisor and trainee buddy were available at all times whenever I had questions, and were happy to take time out of their schedule to discuss work/any questions as required. This meant that I felt well-supported throughout the placement, and didn't feel uncomfortable asking questions and clarifying any issues.
My most significant takeaway from the placement which will probably be most helpful to me in my future studies/career was learning more about the firm's strategic vision and changes in the legal marketplace. Getting 'insider' insight in to this means that I am now more aware of how I should be developing my skills in order to ensure that I am as successful as possible in the future.
The programme was clearly structured and well-organised, with us being informed of any events well in advance. The programme may, however, have benefitted from a more structured and consistent feedback process- as it seems that the experience of this differed greatly depending on team and supervisor. Having scheduled progress reviews would be better to allow improvement throughout the scheme.
The firm clearly prides itself on having an inclusive and welcoming culture, and this really came accross throughout the placement. This meant that I felt like a valued member of the team, and that colleagues of all levels of seniority felt approachable and easy to talk to, allowing me to make the most of any networking opportunities.
The firm provided us with some structured sessions, including a presentation on innovation and a number of talks on practice areas and life at the firm. There wasn't a huge deal of structured training regarding how work was to be completed, although this gave the opportunity to show initiative and to develop your skills independently.
We were given plenty of opportunities to talk to trainees and more senior lawyers about their experiences at the firm. I was also allowed to attend meetings with my supervisor, and sitting in an open-plan office gave a good perspective of the varied work that the lawyers were involved in even just via observation.
The insight gave a good understanding of the culture both through networking opportunities and being involved in the day-to-day work of one team for two weeks. Many of the lawyers I spoke to were incredibly open and honest about their experience of the firm and how it differed from their experiences elsewhere, and this really assisted in me getting a broad feel for the culture in practice.
I feel that I was already fairly set on pursuing a career in law before undertaking the placement, so it didn't really change this in any way. Learning more about the work of a different practice area from any which I had experienced before was however useful for determining potential seat choices when I undertake a training contract.
The firm paid a good amount of money per week for undertaking the scheme. This was sufficient to cover travel costs and fund living expenses throughout the two weeks, and was comparable to the sums paid by competitor firms. They also reimbursed 'extra' travel, for example, the costs of those from the regional offices travelling to London for the induction day.
On the first day of the scheme there were a good number of networking opportunities. However, after this, much of these were largely self-directed and focused around the lawyers in your specific team. There was the potential to meet with specific lawyers working in your area of interest if you wished to organise this, but these were not guaranteed opportunities.
There was one social during the scheme, and an end of scheme drinks. Although the social was incredibly fun and the trainees were really welcoming, it was not especially focused on networking. This did give an opportunity to gain a more informal insight in to life at the firm, but the opportunty to meet a greater variety of people may have been beneficial.
We were briefly told about some of these and there was some information on the intranet, but we didnt get a huge amount of information on the social/pro-bono activities that the firm offers outside of its day-to-day business. However, we were told the contacts for this information, so if it was a particular concern were able to find out more as required.
I feel that overall the programme gave a positive experience of the firm and an opportunity to get involved in real and meaningful work throughout, ensuring that I consistently felt like a valued member of the team. The culture of the firm meant that I felt welcomed and was able to ask any questions I had.
Insight / Vacation Scheme (< 4 Weeks)