The two week vacation scheme was really enjoyable, from attending workshops with the different teams, to taking part in fun socials and doing real work on the floors, it was an incredible experience. I was able to learn a lot about the firm in a number of different ways, both formal and informal, which helped me to form my own opinions about the firm.
I felt extremely valued at RPC because the work I was set in both my insurance and commercial seats were tasks that trainees actually undertake. Whilst in one seat, my supervisor even said that my research into an area of tort law was really helpful in building the case, which was great to hear. All contributions were appreciated and I was trusted and given work by many different people, from trainee to partner.
I received a lot of support during the scheme. Each week we were given a trainee buddy and a supervisor who was usually a senior associate. The trainee buddies were a first port of call for things like printing and understanding how best to carry out tasks. Our supervisor was also always sat nearby and we had to arrange an end of week meeting with them to discuss how we felt we did, our proud achievements and areas to improve on. My first week meeting really helped me to identify my weaker areas that I then built on in my second week. It was nice to hear that this was mirrored in the training contract with mid and end of seat feedback sessions. We also received a lot of support from each other - I made some great friends on the scheme - and from the People team.
I think the skills I developed helped massively in terms of learning about working in both a legal and office environment. From the little things like knowing who to go to for IT help to big things like undertaking important legal research. As a non-law student, the information and experience I got at RPC in just two weeks was amazing and it has really helped me get a head start in my GDL. It was also great to enhance your networking skills because it was up to you to ask to meet members of your team for coffee to learn more about their job and everyone was always happy to chat.
The structure of the scheme was excellent. On the first day we received a timetable for the two weeks which included workshops, breakfast 'speed dating' sessions and plenty of time on our allocated floors. We also had socials like after work drinks, an escape room and visit to Lloyds of London which were all really enjoyable. The People's team also helped us to manage our time by letting us know that we could have an hour for lunch and letting us know if we needed to schedule a meeting with our supervisors. There were also socials that we could arrange for ourselves that were happening on our individual floors, such as football matches and tennis tournaments, or joining the outside clerk on the court run - it was up to you to decide whether you could complete your tasks properly and attend these events. Overall, the structure was a good balance of real work, opportunities to network and socials.
The atmosphere is definitely influenced by the culture of the firm, which is incredibly welcoming and offered us all the opportunity to learn more about the firm and its people. We all got on really well as summer schemers and encouraged each other when we'd been set a difficult task. I think this was helped by the activities towards the start of the scheme that bonded us really well. Each seat I did had a slightly different feel because of the transactional nature of one compared to the other, however the people on the teams were all open to talk to me about anything, willing to offer me lots of work and were genuinely happy to be at work! There was even a bring your dog to work day which was particularly fun!
The firm put a lot of emphasis on us reflecting on each week in our supervisor meetings. They also put on workshops that helped us to better understand the different parts of the firm and encouraged us to attend other workshops that were being held across the firm that fee-earners also usually attended.
It was really useful in gaging what a full time role would be like because we were treated like trainees, given the same type of work, feedback sessions and opportunities for personal development. We were really well integrated into the firm and people were happy to set us tasks because they trusted in us.
It was really helpful in understanding RPC's culture. It really is a different type of firm to others I have visited; one that allows you to do quality work in a more open environment. The layout of the pods mean that you were sat around a trainee, secretary, paralegal, associate, senior associate and partner. This was amazing because it was never intimidating to ask for help or more work and you could learn from the conversations you could hear around you by the most experienced lawyers.
The actual work I did was at times quite challenging and really mentally stimulating which is exactly the type of work I want to do in the future. The fact that the teams did not hold off giving us work that was more difficult, but that they also were really nearby to offer support, highlights the trust they place on trainees and the opportunity to learn a lot. It confirmed my interest in legal problem solving and my desire to work in a firm like RPC.
We were paid £300 per week and were also given £70 on our RPC cards for lunch and anything else we wanted from the cafeteria. We were often provided with breakfast and all of our socials were paid for. At the end of the scheme, we could get our travel expenses over the course of the scheme reimbursed.
There were countless opportunities to network with people from the firm. From more formal activities like workshops and speed dating to informal ones like impromptu coffees, chatting on the floors and lunch time, everyone was happy to chat about life in and outside of work. We spent a lot of the time with the current trainees and most of our socials were with them which was great.
The networking and socials were varied. As highlighted above, they included set workshops and after-work socials like pizza-making and escape rooms. This gave us the chance to chat informally to trainees and learn more about their views on the training contract, living in London and work-life balance.
The People's team arranged an insightful workshop about RPC's corporate social responsibility and involvement in activism which lots of people were involved in. We learned about the charities they support and their involvement in Pride parades. There was also the choir, football club and other teams that meet outside of work.
Yes! It was a fantastic two weeks. I learned a lot about the firm and it confirmed my desire to become a solicitor in a firm like RPC. Throughout the entire process, which at times could be challenging, the People team were friendly, informative and encouraging, ensuring that we felt welcomed into the firm.