The virtual experience was a fantastic insight into life at the firm. Whilst it was unfortunate that the scheme had to be conducted online, the effort that had been put into the scheme was clear. There were plenty of evening activities to ensure all attendees met each other and current trainees. The only downside were a few technical issues with the vacation scheme site which led to delays in receiving messages. Everyone at RPC was quick to respond to emails however meaning that these delays weren't too much of an issue.
I felt very valued during my time at the firm, particularly when discussing the firm's recent diversity and inclusion initiatives. Vacation schemers were asked to recommend things that we thought would be beneficial for the firm to incorporate into their existing initiatives. Any good suggestion we were told would be taken on. It really made me feel that our opinions were really valued. Everyone was very friendly throughout, including the partners, which made me feel very welcome.
The support throughout the scheme was fantastic. Graduate recruitment were always available to help, which was particularly useful considering the virtual scheme lead to lots of wifi issues! My supervisor and trainee buddy were also incredibly supportive and didn't mind explaining things more than once or rewording confusing task instructions. My trainee buddy also gave me lots of tips and tricks for how to approach the work and the final interview. I thought the overall guidance and support was exceptional!
I am an English Literature graduate and so had spent my entire degree conducting research. I felt that these skills were really utilised on the scheme and also tailored and developed to be useful in a legal context. I think that the advice I received for going through documents and delivering presentations will be useful going forward in my career. The only reason for the slightly lower score is that I feel that my researching skills were already relatively developed.
The scheme was impeccably structured. We all received a timetable a week or so before the start so we all knew where we needed to be for the duration of the scheme. We all had to be ready for zoom meetings 10 minutes before meaning that everything started on time. Any guest speakers such as partners were all punctual meaning that the scheme truly was seamless. I think the fact that this was achieved on a virtual scheme is particularly commendable.
Overall, the atmosphere was great. There were lots of fun activities in the evenings such as a quiz and virtual speed networking. There were also lots of lunch and learn activities which really made me feel like I was constantly on the go which was very welcome after 3 months of lockdown! There were a couple of pretty late nights trawling through documents for the tasks but I think this was mainly down to the fact that the scheme was shorter than intended and so there were lots of activities crammed in.
We were given lots of lunch and learn activities, including one particularly useful presentation on presentation skills. As someone who never had to present during their degree, I found this incredibly useful and it felt like the firm were really keen for all the vacation schemers to be given an equal chance to demonstrate their presentation abilities. I also think that the amount of support provided by my supervisor made me feel like the firm really wanted me to succeed and do my best on the scheme.
I think the virtual experience was overall fairly accurate. While we weren't able to work on active cases because of the time frame and virtual nature of the scheme, we were given incredibly realistic tasks to really replicate the kind of work a trainee might undertake. The only thing that made me feel it might not be like a full time role was that trainees said that we were much busier than they had expected us to be. I do think that this was mostly down to the time frame of the scheme - the work would undoubtedly have been more spaced out if the scheme were two weeks.
The experience gave an incredible insight into the culture. We were able to meet people from trainee to partner level, all of whom were super friendly. We also undertook a group culture task where were able to interview people from all departments of the firm such as branding or HR to find out what they thought of the culture. It was great to be able to get such a wide range of opinions on the firm. I really feel like I understand the culture of the firm.
The scheme affirmed to me my interest in commercial law. The wide range of tasks I was given gave me a good insight into what life is like for a commercial trainee. The scheme also demonstrated the fun side of working in a law firm - lots of friendly people and fun after-work activities. The scheme also made me sure that RPC was a firm I wanted to work for given its high quality work and inclusive culture.
The pay was very good for four days work. We were also provided with a scheme 'survival pack' complete with snacks and coffee! We also were given a £30 Deliveroo voucher for an evening meal during our quiz. So, in addition to getting paid we received lots of extras. There were also prizes sent to the vacation schemers who won the quiz and a blog competition in which we all participated. The firm was very generous.
I felt I met loads of people on the scheme. There was a speed networking event one evening where I was able to sit with members of 8 different departments for 15 minutes. I felt this gave a great insight into the different sectors in which the firm operates. The group culture project enabled me to meet people from non-legal departments which was a great insight into how the firm treats all of its employees.
The networking and social event opportunities were great and there was something on every day. I feel like I met a wide range of employees at the firm. It would perhaps have been nice to have a couple of events just for the vacation schemers as I don't feel like I got to know them as well as I would have liked. I also think that there were perhaps too many social events in the four days - it added a lot of pressure for getting the assessed work in on time.