I enjoyed it very much, while it was conducted in a virtual format as all law firm vacation schemes have been this year, we were able to listen to very senior figures within the firm (Global Co-CEO, London Managing Partner and London Training Partner), as well as a wide range of talks on practice areas and many other aspects (diversity, responsible business, pro bono). A virtual vacation scheme is not ideal, but it was certainly well planned and I appreciate the Graduate Recruitment team doing their best to make it informative for us.
Our main contact over the virtual vacation scheme was primarily with the Graduate Recruitment Team who were incredibly warm and enthusiastic. It is worth noting there are a lot of vacation schemers therefore the experience will not at all times be personal, but that is inevitable and I still felt valued and encouraged to ask questions. All those in the firm were really helpful (trainees, future trainees, trainee buddy) and it made it an enjoyable experience.
In response to a virtual format, we were given drop in sessions with current trainees who we could ask their opinion on the presentation project we were given. They were very honest, open and willing to help; indeed the numerous sessions organised gave us a substantial amount of help which exceeded my expectations and was very much appreciated.
Unfortunately a virtual scheme can in no way replicate an in-person experience. Nonetheless during our group project really helped develop skills in working harmoniously and in conjunction with your teammates and being disciplined to uphold your end of the task. It would have been beneficial to have had skills sessions to help build our commercial awareness or employability as the majority of sessions were focused on the firm.
It was clear, we received a timeline outlining the timings of each session which was very helpful. There were some changes as the pack was sent to us at an earlier stage, but we were email-ed the next day's agenda the prior afternoon so there were no surprises and everything was simple and clear to follow.
Being the first virtual vacation scheme that we, as students, participated and that the Graduate Recruitment team had ever created - it was certainly commendable. All participants were enthusiastic and eager to take part which certainly came across during question sessions. The general atmosphere was positive and especially the speakers we listened to, were very enthusiastic and understanding of the situation to lift the general atmosphere.
It would have been more positive if there were sessions to build soft skills or increase employability of candidates. Unfortunately with time constraints and the virtual environment we did not receive any talks on this, the bulk of which focused on insight into the firm, which I am sure would have been very well received by the participants.
This was covered extremely well, the culture of the firm really shone through the different presentations, as well as the firm's strategy and its ethos. We were able to gain insight into the various diversity and inclusion programmes within the firm, particularly how it helped foster a support network to create communities in each.
On its surface, the four core values of DLA Piper can be quite difficult to gauge how it reflects the firm. But it was really interesting to see how these values, would often underscore the themes of the firm's business and with its clients. In particular, the down-to-earth nature of people at the firm was really memorable, interactions with them were honest, informative and they were genuinely invested in telling us their experience of the firm's culture.
While information is readily available on the internet, there is no substitute for real experience and learning from the work. While we were unable to have undertaken real client work due to the virtual nature of the programme, the combination of talks and the presentation project cemented my interest towards the firm.
Due to a change in length of the programme, payment was subsequently changed but the Graduate Recruitment team were extremely helpful and transparent. Everything was clearly explained to us with specific dates on when we would be paid. Moreover, we were also offered support in the event that plans were made for this internship but were unable to secure a refund.
A running theme again is that it is simply impossible to replicate an office social environment to meet and network with employees at the firm. Nonetheless we had specific office group sessions in which we were able to listen from not only the office Managing Partner and Training Partner, but also a wide range of lawyers across different levels in most of the practice areas at the firm which was fantastic.
There were plentiful opportunities networking with employees at the firm, from a diverse range of practice areas and different areas of the business. In particular we had sessions aimed specifically at the office we were hoping to join - among the 8 offices DLA Piper has across the UK which was really helpful to get a flavour of the type of work and environment we were hoping to join.
We had several talks by the firm about the various diversity networks that DLA Piper runs. From ones aimed at LGBTQ+ (Iris network), to support offered to PACT (aimed at parents and carers), Mosaic and LAW, the variety of networks at the firm was fantastic to know the support for a host of different matters. Indeed each of those networks run their own sporting events and activities, encouraging its members to get to know each other outside of work.
DLA Piper recruits the vast majority of training contracts from their Summer Internship programme so if you are interested in the firm this would definitely be the logical step to take. Not only that, but it is a really important step to get to know others applying to the firm, the Graduate Recruitment team and just to get an understanding of the firm to build your network. It is a fantastic experience and and I would definitely recommend you to apply.
Insight / Vacation Scheme (< 4 Weeks)
Central London and City
26th June 2020
Less than £ 10,000