Vacation Scheme Student at Shearman & Sterling LLP

Insight / Vacation Scheme (< 4 Weeks)
London Central London and City
Review Date
Less than £ 10,000
Commercial Law


About You
The Organisation
Everything Else


About You

Role Description

Two-week vacation scheme involving trainee tasks such as proofreading, drafting, bundling and due diligence.

1. To what extent did you enjoy the insight?

I thoroughly enjoyed the two-week vacation scheme. I spent my first week in Finance (a core practice group at Shearman) and my second in Litigation. I was given a variety of tasks (some of which involved real client work) and had a lot of useful feedback from lawyers over the fortnight.

There were plenty of fantastic social events, including a cooking class on the first night, evening drinks, and an amazing meal at the Duck & Waffle. We were also fortunate enough to have lunch with our supervising associates and trainees.


2. To what extent did you feel valued during your time at the company or firm?

Trainees, associates, partners and graduate recruitment were always happy to answer questions despite busy schedules. I was lucky enough to meet with a senior partner for half an hour during my first week.

A particular highlight was closing a deal with the Finance group. We were under pressure to organise and package bundles ready for the postal deadline. It was extremely satisfying to be trusted with real work. I really felt like part of the team when I was invited to the closing lunch afterwards.


3. How much guidance/support did you receive during the insight?

After completing every task, I received one-to-one feedback. This was useful for reflecting on how to improve (and turned out to be an interesting talking point during the second-week interview).

A really useful exercise was writing up a client document from scratch. By way of feedback, my supervising trainee compared my version to the version he had sent his client. Being able to see a real version alongside my attempt was a valuable learning exercise. The feedback always covered aspects that had gone well, as well as points for improvement.


4. To what extent did/will the skills you developed, and information you received, assist you in your degree studies and beyond?

I am now completing a master's in corporate law, and it has been really useful to compare and apply the world of practice to my studies. I also feel well-equipped to start the training contract, since I have a comprehensive understanding of the inner workings of the firm, as well as first-hand experience of some trainee tasks, such as drafting, proofreading and bundling.


The Organisation

5. How well structured was the insight?

The vacation scheme was extremely well structured, allowing every student to experience two practice groups (one per week) with personal preferences catered for.

Every morning, we had talks from lawyers in different practice groups, so we left the scheme getting a comprehensive idea of the work that lawyers carry out across the whole firm. We were also given talks on the firm's pro bono work, access initiatives, and the structure of the training contract.

The first week was assessment-free, allowing us to settle and get to know everyone. The assessments took place at the start of the second week, which meant that we could settle into our second practice groups once these were done.


6. How was the general atmosphere during your insight?

The atmosphere was friendly, inclusive and supportive. The graduate recruitment team was always on hand to make sure everything ran smoothly. My fellow vac schemers were very friendly and we have kept in contact. Even in a high-pressure and busy environment, the lawyers were always very generous with their time.


7. In terms of personal training and development, to what extent did the company or firm invest in you?

All vacation scheme students were able to share an office with their supervising associate and were assigned a supervising trainee, which really helped with personal training and development since we could ask questions at any time. The firm's investment in us was also reflected in the direct feedback given upon completion of tasks.


8. To what extent did the insight help you to understand what it would be like to have a full time role with the company or firm?

We had many opportunities to meet with lawyers from different practice groups, who were very frank about the demands, challenges and benefits of working at Shearman. I felt as though I left the vacation scheme with a real insight into what it would be like to train with the firm.


9. How much did the insight help you in understanding the company culture?

My impression was that, even across different practice groups, the company culture was relaxed, friendly and supportive. These insights were confirmed by current trainees at the firm, who said that the training programme is hands-on, supportive and well-structured. Trainees get frequent one-to-one feedback sessions with supervising associates. The motto is that you should always know how you are performing because you get on-the-job feedback.


10. How valuable was the content in helping you to decide on your future career path?

I thoroughly enjoyed the tasks I was given throughout the scheme and was able to work with some very impressive people. The feedback given on each task was extremely valuable. It was common to hear that the lawyers really enjoyed their work. As such, the decision to accept a training contract with Shearman was not a difficult one.


Other Information

11. Were you paid or reimbursed adequately for this experience?

The amount paid was more than enough to cover travel costs and would likely cover the costs of accommodation too. Most vacation scheme students commuted for the duration of the scheme, although some were able to find accommodation nearer the office. Travel costs were also reimbursed after attending the interview.

12. Were there opportunities for networking and meeting other employees of the company or firm?

There were many networking opportunities. We were actively encouraged to arrange meetings with lawyers in practice areas that we were interested in. I was lucky enough to meet with a senior partner from the Project Development and Finance group. Other networking events included scheduled lunches and a presentation given by lawyers from the Texas office.


13. How were the networking/ social event opportunities?

The social opportunities were fantastic. They included a cooking class on the first night, evening drinks and a spectacular meal at the Duck & Waffle to conclude the fortnight. These were very relaxed and were a good way to get to know fellow vacation scheme students, as well as members of graduate recruitment and trainees.


14. Did you find out about activities that employees can get involved in outside of work?

Many lawyers spoke passionately about the activities offered outside work. These included netball, softball, golf, rugby, yoga and five-a-side football. The trainees particularly enjoyed the community work they did with local primary school students, which involved hearing them read every week. There is certainly a good social scene at Shearman.


15. Would you recommend this insight to a friend?

I would certainly recommend the vacation scheme at Shearman to a friend. The experience was a great way to get involved in real work at a top-level firm, whilst meeting some impressive people. Not only was it a great way to build contacts and experience, but it was also a lot of fun.