I thoroughly enjoyed the Vacation Scheme at Gateley. I felt as though the scheme gave me an accurate overview of the work undertaken in the different departments at the firm and the culture in my chosen office. There was a set timetable of practice area overviews which allowed for asking questions and a detailed insight as to training in the different seats.
There was a good variety of work that I was able to get involved with. All departments were happy to offer work if you had an interest. I was excited to get involved in the current work, and to see how the work that I was undertaking tied into the bigger transactions.
All members of the office were happy to provide guidance and support throughout my scheme. Specifically, the NQs and paralegals were happy to give insights into their personal journeys. They were also keen to advise on the best way to approach any challenges. Overall the team was extremely welcoming and happy to give feedback.
I have learnt a lot on my scheme. I know the information I have gained during the placement will help me to have a wider understanding of a solicitor's role in different practice areas. There were a few practice areas that I was previously unsure about, however the placement has allowed me to gain skills, knowledge, and experience which I will benefit from in the long term.
The scheme was structured well, the department in which I was sitting in had work prepared for me at the start of the scheme. I was also able to attend scheduled practice overviews with the SVP students in the other offices. We were all given a placement timetable at the start of the week so I was able to structure my tasks accordingly.
The people at Gateley were extremely welcoming. They were happy to answer multiple questions that I asked, and the team never made any of us feel uncomfortable. I enjoyed interacting with all members of staff and it was easy to fit in. I would have liked to have had a longer placement!
During the induction day in Birmingham I was given training on the IT systems at the firm and given my own email. The training was thorough and allowed me to learn how to use certain softwares. My supervisors were also willing to take time out of their busy schedules in order to give feedback and improvements on my work which has impacted my skill set.
Through the conversations with partners, NQs, and paralegals I was able to understand what it would be like to have a full time role at the firm. They all allowed me to ask questions about their roles, their likes and dislikes, and why they were drawn to a particular practice area.
It is always important to understand a firm's culture before committing to a long term role with the firm. The summer placement allowed me to see how people in the office interact with each other, whether they enjoy being there, and whether the firm was actually a right fit for me.
Extremely valuable. I now have more clarity in which areas I would like to train in, and reasoning behind those choices. I also understand how the teams also work together to support each other.
Yes. Gateley paid us for the duration of the placement and reimbursed us for the travel expenses to the induction which took place in the Birmingham office. Some firms do not offer to pay students for their time on the placement, I was happy that Gateley did offer to remunerate us for our time as it showed that they do value us.
Yes. There were many opportunities for networking and meeting other employees of the firm during my scheme. Everyone was generally ready to take a few moments to talk about their experiences and what it is actually like working in their respective departments. Even impromptu meetings such as in the kitchen during lunch were opportunities to network.
The paralegals organised a social lunch with the SVP students. I took the opportunity to network at various points during the scheme on my own accord which was enjoyable as all staff were very friendly. However, there were no 'out of office hours' social events during my scheme. These event may be more common in other offices.
During my placement it seemed as though the activities that employees generally get involved with outside of work, such as sports teams, mostly take place in the larger offices. Gateley has a office wide portal called FRED which allows everyone to keep up to date with activities and CSR events that are taking place.
I would definitely recommend this vacation scheme to a friend. It was an extremely enjoyable experience.
Insight / Vacation Scheme (< 4 Weeks)
5th August 2019