The vacation scheme was very helpful and everybody at the office was very friendly and approachable. I enjoyed the socials and liked being able to see a wide array of areas of law on show in the office. I enjoyed talking to the trainees, PAs, other fee-earners and partners alike. The areas of law were interesting.
Only a couple of times did I think my work was actually anything other than ‘make-work’ but I appreciated this was always likely going to be the case and also it was not hidden as anything other than that. More of the tasks were designed for my own benefit rather than the benefit of the firm and this was fine by me.
The document management / IT support and guidance were helpful. On top of this, both of my supervisors for the weeks and also the PAs were very helpful when I had any legal or administrative problems or issues. There were also some departmental overview conferences which were helpful for understanding the roles of each department in the firm.
It was helpful to translate using skills and resources from my legal studies into legal practice such as looking at Practical Law and Lexis. I also got to practice drafting, and gained a good insight into different areas of family law which will be helpful when trying to determine which area of law I would like to specialise in going forwards.
The insight was quite informal and loosely structured but was enjoyable overall. It was good to have the IT training before the two weeks began. I think it would perhaps have been more helpful to have not spent the entire first day in the Birmingham office, as I believe there would have been more benefit to spending the full ten days in the Leicester office.
The office was very friendly and it was very clear to me that everybody got on within the office and there was an established comfortable dynamic. This was aided by everybody being very sociable and nice, and also the firm holding a social for myself and the other Summer Vacation Placement student which was enjoyable.
The extent of the personal training would be the supervisors going over some (but not all) of the work I had completed and explaining to me the practical pros and cons of my completed work, and perhaps what might have been done differently if done by my supervisor. I wasn't expecting it to be particularly geared towards personal development given the short length of the scheme so no real complaints. It was more about getting to know the firm.
This was the primary role of the insight both in terms of the work I undertook while on the placement and also by allowing me to talk to general workers of the firm about their time both with the firm and in that specific office. I found I got a good insight into the working life at that particular office of the firm.
This was quite a large part of the placement and I think it was relatively successful. An understanding of the company culture is required in obtaining a placement on the scheme and was further compounded by the exercise I did to pitch the firm to a potential client. I understand the culture well now.
I was already quite firmly set on my decided career path (commercial/corporate law) and don't think this vacation placement really did much to change this decision. It was interesting to learn about family law but I don't think I would pursue it as a career, so perhaps aided in confirming that decision for me.
I believe it is £300 per week but I may be mistaken. I have not been paid yet nor do I know when I will be paid. I don't expect to be paid until the end of August. I believe this payment is adequate as most students would do these placements for free for both the experience and chance of a training contract at the end of it.
There was an initial day at the start where all the other summer vacation placement students were put together at the head office in Birmingham. Other than this there were a couple of socials (one inter-office) and some conference calls given by some senior fee-earners within the firm to give some information about the departments they work in. I wouldn't really call these opportunities for networking though.
The networking opportunities were quite limited in my opinion but I did enjoy the social which I went to - golf and some drinks. I appreciated that the office prepaid for a couple of drinks and I had a fun time socialising with the employees. I was unable to attend the other social event so cannot pass an opinion on it.
There were no formal presentations or anything about extra-curriculars/Corporate Social Responsibility etc but having spoken to some of the trainees and other employees or former employees of the firm I believe I have a good idea about how employees can get involved in the office outside of work. Could have done with maybe a presentation.
Yes overall I enjoyed the placement and appreciated the work I got a chance to do alongside the people that I met while on the placement. The particular selling point was the work-life balance in the firm which is evident to me alongside the culture of the people in the office.
Insight / Vacation Scheme (< 4 Weeks)
2nd August 2019