The internship was executed very well and was quite enjoyable. I received a breadth of information and talks from different areas of the firm. Although I lament the in-person scheme that should have been, the virtual experience was largely seamless and informative. The highlight of the scheme, at least in terms of talks, was the closing address by [This section of the comment has been removed by a member of the RateMyPlacement Team because it did not meet our site terms and conditions] (Joint Managing Director, UK and Europe). [This section of the comment has been removed by a member of the RateMyPlacement Team because it did not meet our site terms and conditions] candour is unrivalled and her talk was inspirational.
DLA Piper showed real care and concern for each intern throughout the scheme. From the start, the emphasis was getting to know people on a more personal level. Of course, this is hard to do on a scheme with 99 students. Still, the effort was appreciated, as were the surprise delivery vouchers. Though seemingly small gestures, the impression left was that DLA Piper cared about developing relationships with the interns. Again, to achieve this in a virtual setting was a commendable feat.
Support and guidance were provided throughout the scheme, from a range of sources. Being assigned a trainee buddy is the norm for vacation schemes. However, the genuine effort put forth by my trainee buddy outside of work hours speaks to DLA Piper's culture. Guidance was also available for scheme-related tasks during trainee drop-in sessions. Finally, having office-specific sessions allowed me to get to know the support network available more locally. The overall offering was excellent.
The lower score here does not reflect a shortcoming of the internship programme. Rather, since it is not the scheme's aim to improve interns' academic performance, this question seems out of place. Nonetheless, the tasks performed during the scheme and the feedback received on the same do provide tools for improving academic performance for both law and non-law students. These skills are readily transferrable across a range of disciplines, both academic and professional. A success in that regard.
It is important to caveat the comments and the score with the context of the scheme. This is usually a 3 week programme, held in person in London and at regional offices. Having had friends who have participated in this scheme before, I know it is usually structured very well. The virtual scheme posed some scheduling challenges, with sessions often running long. However, this is less a criticism than it is something that reflects well on DLA Piper. Incredibly accomplished and busy people were very willing to give up more of their time to answer our many questions.
The atmosphere throughout the virtual scheme was friendly and welcoming. This was true of all firm representatives and, impressively, other scheme participants as well (which speaks volumes to the type of people DLA Piper aim to recruit). The large group sessions did not leave much room to get to know everyone but the smaller sessions allowed us to form strong connections. The office-specific sessions in particular were intimate and insightful. Perhaps the informality of a zoom session added to the friendly atmosphere.
I believe the abridged nature of the scheme (moved from 3 weeks in person to 1 virtual week) meant that this aspect of the scheme also had to be curtailed. However, DLA Piper's investment in its prospective trainees was still quite evident. The tasks set on the scheme, which I will not discuss further given their confidential nature, set the stage for professional development and gave us an idea of what to expect in a trainee role.
On the virtual scheme it was a bit harder to get a genuine sense of the life of a trainee. DLA Piper did what they could to give us an insight into trainee life, making trainees available to discuss their time at the firm or to give us examples of "a day in the life." Senior lawyers also spoke to junior lawyers' roles within their teams. Still, an in-office experience would have provided much greater insight.
Culture came across throughout the scheme, and to a surprising degree I might add. I would describe all the firm's representatives as being genuinely friendly and approachable. This is not to say that there is one type of DLA Piper employee or some monolithic culture. Rather, the representatives simply shared the same down-to-earth personalities. I got the sense that culture is more than just a marketing ploy at DLA Piper because a consistent message came across in every interaction.
Greater insight into trainee life would have made this a more informative experience. Again, the score and the comment are to caveated with the coronavirus-induced shift to a virtual scheme. However, as I am already certain that I want to pursue a career in commercial law, the insights provided on the scheme helped to reinforce my thoughts. I would recommend the scheme to anyone undecided on this career path or on a firm with which to pursue the same.
The firm was mindful to remunerate people for the week, in line with the time spent on the virtual vacation scheme. We were also provided some delivery vouchers, which were an unexpected surprise. Although I did not have this issue, I know an effort was also made to reimburse people for expenses incurred in anticipation of an in-person scheme (where other redress was not available). As a student, a willingness to pay us a pro rata amount of the original amount was appreciated.
We were given access to numerous employees at various stages of their careers throughout the scheme. DLA Piper definitely ensured we received a breadth of exposure to give us a more complete sense of everything the firm has to offer. Again, the trainee buddy and trainee drop-in sessions were highlights of the scheme because these people were in our shoes not long ago. Their perspectives were greatly appreciated as they related more closely to our current experiences.
Once again, a question better suited to the in-person scheme. I will caveat my score comment with reference to the coronavirus-induced shift to a virtual scheme. I am grateful for the opportunities we were given. The trainee pub quiz was a nice human touch and allowed everyone to get comfortable with each other from day 1. Apart from that, social opportunities were a bit rare, though the delivery vouchers made up for some of what was lost in the shift to a virtual scheme.
DLA Piper delivered a well-rounded insight scheme. Work was obviously the focus of most sessions and great effort was put into discussing work streams and days in the life. However, the ancillary aspects were also given due care and attention. I learned about various networks within the firm and opportunities to get involved. A particular highlight was the firm's emphasis on pro bono work. The genuine commitment to serving the community was refreshing to say the least.
I would wholeheartedly recommend the insight scheme to friends and peers who are pursuing a career in commercial law. The scheme provides an insight into the work, the culture, the people, the demands, the challenges, and the opportunities that come as part and parcel of this career choice. I would also recommend that where possible, friends participate in one or more other schemes because it will help them gain an appreciation for what makes DLA Piper unique.
Insight / Vacation Scheme (< 4 Weeks)
7th July 2020