I thoroughly enjoyed my internship the internship at DLA Piper for a number of reasons. Due to Covid-19, the placement was moved from being 3 weeks in office to being 1 week virtually. Despite this, the Graduate Recruitment and Management Team put together a brilliant programme that was engaging and meant that I looked forward to each day. This is because they filled the week with a variety of activities from talks from various members of the company with interns from all offices, to group work, to sessions with the specific office we applied to. There was never a full moment as there was always something new to learn or do.
I felt extremely valued by the firm the not just throughout the internship but in the run up to it and after it had concluded. DLA Piper made sure I felt supported throughout the application process with the Graduate team on hand to answer any queries by email in a timely manner. The run up to the internship was happening in a very uncertain time due to Covid-19 but we were kept updated regularly about the changes. This made me feel valued but the firm as it showed they cared about my participation in the internship. During the course of the placement, DLA welcomed us with open arms (albeit virtually) and it encouraged us to get to know both them and the other interns. All speakers gave talks give us plenty of time to ask any questions and were interested in what we had to say which was brilliant.
A couple of weeks before the scheme started, each intern was paired with a buddy (a current trainee) in the office they had applied to. This was a brilliant as it allowed us to ask any specific questions about either the internship itself or what it was like to work at DLA Piper. My Buddy took time out of his week to call me before the internship started so we could talk about any questions I had and to get to know each other. The Graduate team were on hand throughout the internship as well making it clear that if we had any problems, to just contact them and they would help us immediately. It felt great to have this reassurance and help from them.
I come from a non-law background so I do not have much specific legal knowledge. This was greatly changed by my week at DLA as I gained great insight into the legal profession which has strengthened my passion for law. This was because we were given talks about the work DLA Piper does from a few heads of department but also given specific talks about each sector within which DLA works. This helped me to understand and gain insight into what specific kind of law I may like to work in, in the future. Although, I could not gain specific practical legal skills that would have been learn in office, I did become more technologically competent with platforms such as zoom, that will be useful for future working.
Considering the internship was virtual, it was structured very well and ran smoothly with very little technical difficulties. The first day was a series of welcome talks and a quiz on the first evening run by trainees which was a brilliant ice breaker for us to get to know each other, considering we were joining virtually from around the world. The rest of the week consisted of talks from various speakers in the morning, specific office based sessions and then group work in the afternoon. The group work involved working in teams of between 3-5 interns (from the office you'd applied to.
The atmosphere of the internship throughout the week was very positive. Both members of the firm and the other interns were interested in getting to know each other which provided a sociable and friendly feeling to each session. Each session or talk was also an opportunity to learn something new, and the fact we could ask questions to the speakers at the end of each session meant that we could be actively involved. At the end of each day, I looked forward to the next for a number of reasons, one of those being the welcoming atmosphere.
The firm has given me feedback on various activities throughout my application and internship. I was given verbal feedback via a phone call on my performance at the assessment centre. Additionally, we were given feedback on our group presentation during the internship and the individual written assessment we completed. All of these have helped me understand what I did well and what I could have improved upon which will help me in the future. Additionally, the firm put on trainee drop in session when we were undergoing our presentation prep so we could ask questions and get their opinions which was great.
Under the circumstances, we were still given a very good insight to what it would be like to work at the firm. We were given talks on a. variety of the initiatives they support and the pro bono work they do which was very insightful. Additionally, being able to talk to such a variety of people within the firm, from partners, to associates to trainees, really helped me gage what day to day life is like and the friendly and approachable environment within which they work.
The insight really helped me understand the culture of the company. During the sessions, we were given talk about the company values, the ways in which they support their employees (in terms of both working in office and working at home) and how much they value their relationships with clients. The friendly environment in which the employees work was resonated through the down to earth and welcoming approach of all speakers to us as they all extended their time slots with us so they could answer more questions. Many employees we spoke to from all around the UK and Ireland were friendly and sociable with employees from other offices and seemed to know each other well, showing that they pride themselves on having strong and supportive relationships within the firm and with clients.
My time on the internship has strengthened my goal to work in the legal profession. Coming from a non-law background, I found the insights into the various departments very useful in helping me understand which specific areas I am particularly interested in and might like to work in in the future. Additionally, the various tasks, especially the group presentation gave an insight into the type of work commercial lawyers do on a day to day basis and the teamwork element of work done in law firms . This has definitely helped me decide that working for a firm like this is something I want to do.
As mentioned, the internship was shortened and moved virtually due to Covid-19, however we were paid a set amount for our one week on the internship even though we did not do any work specially to contribute towards the firm. Had the original plan for a three week in office internship gone ahead, we would have been paid for the three weeks (three times the set amount). Additionally, any train fare or travel fare to the assessment centres was reimbursed. We were also gifted £50 worth of Just Eat vouchers during the internship to use at the socials so we could order food. This was to help replicate what we would have been doing in office (eg we would have had pizza in the London office while doing a quiz social on the first night).
Yes, even though the internship was online there was ample opportunity to connect with employees from all positions and areas within the firm. In the whole group sessions (with all interns from all offices), we were given chances to ask questions to each speaker and also invited to send emails to employees should we have specific questions for them that didn't have time to be answered. In our office specific sessions, we were given the change to connect and network specifically with employees at the office we had applied to. This was all in addition to the buddy ( a current trainee) we had been given, which I mentioned earlier.
The networking/social events were more difficult due to the internship being virtual. However, DLA Piper helped us to make the most of the situation at hand. We had a quiz social on the first night which was great as it allowed us to get to know a handful of interns from other offices through the mixed office teams we were put into. However, I would have liked to have had another social to get to know more of the interns as well as employees of the firm, as despite the quiz, there was not many other opportunities to get to know each other further (apart from each intern giving a very brief introduction of their name, the office they applied to and their university).
We were given a brief talk about a few of the social events and activities organised by both DLA Piper itself and the employees. These included sporting activities like football teams and musical activities such as choirs. We were also given talks about the initiatives DLA Piper created that employees can get involved in such as LAW, Mosaic, Iris and PACT. These are great support networks for the employees at DLA Piper and show how much the firm is invested in diversity and inclusion.
I would definitely recommend the internship to a friend and anyone else interested in a career in law (regardless of whether they are from a law or non-law background). DLA Piper made sure the group tasks and written exercise we did could be done without any prior legal knowledge. Additionally, the insight I got into the legal sector and the work DLA Piper do was brilliant and the support and welcome we were given really helped. I feel like I gained a number of skills and have much more knowledge into the work of a global law firm.
Insight / Vacation Scheme (< 4 Weeks)
7th July 2020