The vacation scheme was enjoyable. Interns got a good insight in to the firm, its values and the work the firm does. The first week in London was a particular highlight, as the Head Office is very impressive and the activities and networking opportunities provided in the first week are very fun, engaging and make you feel valued. Unfortunately, some of the regional offices do not provide the same full service, high quality international work that the firm advertises, with it being apparent that in reality you mostly need to work in London. This therefore affected the overall enjoyableness of the internship, since the idea of getting to do international work even in a regional office was the main reason I applied to DLA Piper.
In the regional offices, interns were made to feel forgotten about and like they were secondary to the London interns. It is very clear that graduation recruitment are mostly focused on the London office. In the office where I was based, we did not have anyone from grad recruitment visit us throughout the entire two weeks once leaving London (except for the final day when they appeared to make the decisions), nor did we have as many organised events that the other offices had.
I felt left to my own devices in the last week of the internship, being left in an office on my own whilst my supervisor was away for the majority of the week. I therefore felt like I had minimal guidance or support, as I had to seek work from other departments and push just to have the same experience as the other interns. On the last day when the office made their TC decisions, I was also accompanied in to the room by an associate who I had never worked with and had only had very brief interactions with - everyone else was accompanied by their line manager from their first or second week, so this made me feel very isolated and like I had no-one in the room who I actually knew or who could support me. This was very upsetting personally. There was also no feedback offered as to the decision reached. I think this is a huge flaw in the scheme, particularly as feedback is offered even after the assessment centre; it is bizarre to not then provide it after you have worked for them for three weeks, and it leaves interns feeling confused and wondering how they can improve next time. Feedback after a vacation scheme is a standard part of every law firm's process, so I am extremely surprised that DLA Piper do not view it as a priority.
The scheme provided a very valuable insight in to what life as a trainee lawyer is like at DLA Piper, and allowed interns to develop skills such as drafting, proof reading and business development. These skills can definitely be carried in to your legal career. There was also a useful one-to-one at the end of each week with your supervisor, where you were able to talk through the work that you had done and receive praise / tips on how to improve. However, the fact that no feedback or information was then given at the end of the internship means that many interns are unable to use it to develop their skills in the future, as they are given no idea as to what they did wrong, how they could improve or how training contract decisions were made.
The initial first week in London was extremely well structured, with there being plenty of activities which were all well organised and engaging. The daily practice group insight sessions were also well organised, however again certain regional offices were forgotten about when it came to offering interns the chance to ask questions, or even just when it came to checking we were online and participating. The two weeks spent in the regional offices were also relatively well structured, however there wasn't the same resources or the staff to make some of the events as much of a priority as they were in the larger offices. For example, no-one attended our welcome breakfast apart from one trainee.
The atmosphere in London was brilliant; everyone felt very positive, privileged to be there and everyone made friends. I am sure the same atmosphere remained in most of the offices, however my personal experience was that interns in some regional offices felt deflated after leaving London and realising that their offices were forgotten about and didn't offer the same level or types of work.
As stated in the previous answers, I think the fact the firm does not give you feedback after the scheme is a huge hindrance to personal training and development and is very surprising.
The week in London gave a good insight in to what a full time role is like in the Head Office, as many of the presentations about the type of work they do, their clients and their pro-bono activities are centred around that office. However, as stated, it is very different in some of the regional offices. There was next to no pro-bono opportunities in my office, nor was it full service. I appreciate the office is small and may not have the capacity to be full service, but this should be made clear from the start.
The scheme focused a lot on the company culture, and interns were given a lot of information. The firm has a set of values which it lives by, and this is reiterated by everyone you meet. It is fair to say that the culture in every office is open and friendly, and this is probably one of the firm's best points.
I would not say the content of the scheme was valuable in helping me decide on my future career path, since I already knew I wanted to follow this path. The scheme also did not provide the opportunity to work in any of the practice groups that I had an interest in, so I remain unclear about those areas.
The payments and reimbursements are very generous and cannot be faulted.
There were very good, numerous opportunities for networking. You get to attend multiple dinners with fellow interns, associate and partners, and all members of the firm in attendance at the events were always lovely and very approachable.
As above, the networking and social events were very good. In the regional offices, trainees made a clear effort to put on social events in the evenings, and this really made us feel more included and welcome.
Very little appeared to be on offer outside of the regional offices. There were no physical pro-bono schemes or activities for my region, which is something I expected and was surprised by since DLA Piper is so committed to corporate social responsibility.
Based on the lack of feedback, transparency regarding the nature of the work in the regional offices and the total lack of interest that grad recruitment had in anyone outside of London, I would not recommend this internship. Although there were plenty of perks and all members of the firm were lovely, I feel like it has not been helpful at all with personal development and I would not have applied if I had known this or had known that not all regional offices are full service and don't do international work.