I was a vacation schemers at Latham and Watkins during the summer. I sat in two different departments: corporate and litigation. You are given a choice of three departments before your scheme begins, which HR really endeavours to accommodate.
The insight into the life of a lawyer that I got from the vacation scheme was very high. Each team I sat with during the scheme made a real effort to include me in the work they were doing at the time. In addition, the talks given by lawyers from each practice areas were also very helpful.
Even the busiest associates made time to make sure that I was settling in ok and in setting up coffee to discuss not only Latham but my expectations for my career in law. Most of the work I was given was real and was judged against the standard of a trainee. I felt like a valued team member.
The first day involved a talk from the Graduate Recruitment team on what to expect generally during the scheme and how we would be assessed. This was very helpful and the team was available throughout to discuss any issues/questions that arose. My mentors were also very available to discuss any questions and work I had on.
I have already finished my degree - but I think that the insight I got into Latham was invaluable for my career. It emphasised the importance of being a real team worker and of time management skills in the real world. In reality, being a lawyer means being a part of the team - and that means taking responsibility and being there and being reliable when times are busy.
Generally, very good. It was very well-rounded: we had practice area talks, as well as several opportunities to engage with life at the firm and the idea of being “Latham Citizen” by talking to several of the associates on the several committees that Latham has. It would have been very helpful to have had more time at our desks, however.
The other vacation schemers were very friendly and positive. Supervisors were very engaged individuals who made sure to check in and see how the scheme was going and how you were settling in. Equally, they made themselves available for questions and discussion about your work and law in general. The firm as a whole has a very positive vibe (and everyone is a bit of a foodie!)
It was obvious that the firm puts a lot of resources into the scheme. From IT training to library resources training, to talks from lawyers on practice areas, it was obvious that the firm was very engaged with the idea of giving the schemers a very well rounded view of the life of a lawyer, and trained us appropriately for the two weeks of it.
The scheme was very good at exposing you to the Latham culture. Ultimately, this is how you decide whether you want to be a part of it or not. The scheme was very intense - so it was realistic in the sense that, as a lawyer, you do end up working to very tight deadlines. However, the exposure to committee members and people at the firm during the scheme (through talks and socials) also enabled me to gain insight into the culture of the firm - which is very friendly, relatively laid back and non hierarchical. This led me to pick Latham for my Training Contract.
The intensity of the scheme meant that we were exposed to demanding tasks and deadlines, which speaks to Latham’s culture of excellence, but it was also generally very good at making us meet lawyers and trainees in various departments. The latter was very good at illustrating that Latham is a very friendly place.
Very helpful - Latham makes sure that you get broad exposure to various parts of the firm. The practice area talks were very good at, for example, making me engage with practice areas I never thought I would be interested in (I.e. tax). Further, because it gives you realistic insight into the life of a lawyer or of a trainee, it ultimately shows you whether this is for you.
Latham pays all of their vacation schemers. I thought the pay was fair and it certainly enabled me to be able to fully participate in the scheme - but be aware that, at the end of the day, it will probably just about cover your accommodation, food and transport expenses in London.
There were several opportunities to engage with attorneys, trainees and other vacation schemers - both within and outside the firm. Since we had practice area talks almost every day, it was easy to meet people from other departments from those which you were sat in. The firm organised several events (from drinks, to dinner in the Gherkin to a baking competition) for the vacation schemers and trainees, which makes socialising and networking easy.
Very good. Generally, I find networking relatively tricky as I do not drink alcohol. I found the firm to be particularly inclusive of this by organising events that also catered for non-drinkers (and some that did not involve drinking for those who did not wish to do so as well)!
In addition to practice area talks, we were also given presentations by members of several Latham committees (LGBT committee, first general professionals committee...) which made it very clear that there are several opportunities and activities to get involved in outside of work. Further, there was opportunity to engage with these individuals on a 1-on-1 basis.
I would very much recommend the scheme to a friend. Not only was it fun, but it was also extremely helpful in helping me decide whether I would like to pursue a career in law. Having attended several vacation schemes in the past, this is, by far, the best one for insight.