Vacation Scheme at Shearman & Sterling LLP

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


About You
The Organisation
Everything Else


About You

Role Description

Winter Vacation Scheme 2018

1. To what extent did you enjoy the insight?

As a non-law student, the vacation scheme struck a good balance between supporting and challenging me. It was an excellent opportunity to investigate the nature of the firm's work, and to experience its culture first hand.


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

Significantly, no work was given to me which was not a genuine piece of work. My supervisors set aside time to give me considered, constructive feedback on my efforts, and I was treated as someone to get to know and to help grow rather than an inconvenience in a busy workplace.

Additionally, I was able to get involved in pro-bono work alongside my placements. I was trusted to take responsibility for my own chunk of the project, and felt this allowed me to work with more people and to gain a more rounded picture of the firm.


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

Coming from a non-law course, I was apprehensive about the level of legal knowledge which might be required to engage fully with the two weeks and to make a genuine contribution to the work.

The firm immediately put me at ease. Each of my supervising associates and trainee buddies were incredibly generous with their time if I requested clarification. I was given a lot of freedom and responsibility to attempt things myself, with tasks being suitable for non-legal students keen to apply themselves. It was an empowering learning experience, representative of a trainee's responsibly to further their own learning in a supportive environment.

There was also ample opportunity throughout the scheme to network and hear stories of success from trainees, associates and partners from both legal and non-legal backgrounds. Importantly, assessments were administered fairly, with no technical legal knowledge required.


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

The scheme was a great opportunity to develop knowledge of Shearman, legal awareness and general soft skills from networking in an office environment.

One aspect I found particularly useful was a series of presentations across the two weeks. These introduced us to different practice areas. Rather than being spoon-fed knowledge, it was an opportunity to ask questions and to gain a personal perspective from the presenter regarding working in that particular practice area. This insight will doubtless be very useful in planning my career path.


The Organisation

5. How well structured was the insight?

Printed packs were provided to candidates which included a timetable of presentations and socials. They had clearly been thoughtfully made, including helpful tips to soothe any anxieties about lunchtimes and home times. There was also the flexibility to request additional information or talks on anything which had not been covered.

Usefully, time had been set aside in the schedules to meet with our buddies and supervisors where we could ask any questions or discuss work and life over a more informal coffee or meal.

The first half of the vacation scheme was spent in one 'seat' (legal area), and the second half in a different seat, allowing a much greater feel for the different types of work and people throughout the office.


6. How was the general atmosphere during your insight?

As a member of Aspiring Solicitors*, I was very interested to get a feel for the firm's culture.

(*This is an organisation which supports candidates from a range of ethnic groups, social backgrounds, sexual orientations, disabilities and long term health conditions).

Everyone I met from Shearman, both legal and non-legal, were friendly, engaging, open, inclusive and fun during both social and work activities.

Experiencing the environment first hand was crucial to see whether I was a mutually good fit with the firm. It was ultimately a very important factor when considering placements at comparable firms.


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

Although it was only two weeks, the small group allowed a very individual experience. It was possible to form genuine relationships with those we worked with. Feedback was also thoughtfully considered rather than a rushed obligation. Presentations and networking opportunities contributed to my general legal and commercial knowledge, not only my knowledge of Shearman.


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?

It felt as though showing a willingness to get stuck in and conquer work resulted in greater investment in your personal growth from supervisors which was a rewarding feeling. The office felt friendly and supportive, and speaking with trainees, associates and partners candidly was a great opportunity to imagine the next steps with Shearman.


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

One of the clearest insights into the company culture came from learning how Shearman engages with its future trainees. Hearing how the firm strives to keep future trainees informed and welcomed exemplifies the value placed on all employees.

Interestingly, vacation scheme participants were able to attend both the office Christmas lunch and the Christmas party. Seeing colleagues in both working and social contexts encouraged us to bring our whole selves to work too.


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

Working with Shearman was an empowering experience. It opened my horizons and filled them with concrete details of how to get where I wanted to go. Personal stories and struggles most resonated with me, and it was refreshing to hear how partners and associates had faced challenges and what they had learnt from them.


Other Information

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

I was lucky enough to live near London so this was adequate for my travel expenses. The payment administration was dealt with efficiently.

I would be interested to know more about Shearman's inclusiveness toward less financially able candidates, particularly as payment is made retrospectively so finding accommodation could be a challenge.

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

The firm felt incredibly social and open. 'Networking' feels like a very mercenary term for what turned out to be some fun and interesting chats. Opportunities would pop up all day as people were so willing to engage with vacation schemers, not just at designated events. I particularly appreciated that there were many non-legal staff willing to chat and give a different insight into firm life.


13. How were the networking/ social event opportunities?

The quality of the networking events was high and had clearly been adequately budgeted, with a good range of inclusive meals and activities. There was also the opportunity to give feedback on the events which felt like they really cared about all aspects of your experience with Shearman, reflecting the company culture at large.


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

We were invited to participate in sports activities and learn about networks for a variety of special interest groups.


15. Would you recommend this insight to a friend?

Highly recommended.