Virtual Vacation Scheme at Herbert Smith Freehills

Virtual Experience
London Central London and City
Review Date
Less than £ 10,000
Corporate Law


The Role



About You

Role Description

Four-day virtual Vacation Scheme

1. To what extent did you enjoy the virtual experience?

The virtual experience was really well done, with many informative talks. I enjoyed it quite a lot, as it was clear that the Graduate Recruitment team put in effort to make us feel included and learn as much as we could without the in person experience of being in the law firm offices. I particularly enjoyed the one-on-one chats with trainees and partners, which gave a more personalised insight into the firm itself and the culture.


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


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


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

I definitely learnt a lot about the various departments within Herbert Smith Freehill's London office, which was extremely insightful. As well as learning the differences between trainee, associate, and partner duties, we learnt what the general qualities were of trainees and how they differentiated in each department. This information was extremely useful in giving a clearer insight into the culture of the firm. It is quite hard to state any particular skills that were developed.


The Organisation

5. How well structured was the virtual experience?

The scheme generally started at around 9.30 and ended at 5. We had plenty of timetabled breaks and a good length of time allocated for lunch. We were provided with a timetable prior to the scheme which was useful as we knew exactly what we were doing each day and could prepare accordingly. There wasn't too much time spent in any one area so that a broad insight could be provided, which was done well.


6. How was the general atmosphere during your virtual experience?

The Graduate Recruitment team was very welcoming and provided for anything that we needed during the scheme. Furthermore, we participated in talks with both trainees and partners, and in all of these conversations I was able to speak very candidly and honestly with them, which was extremely helpful in gaining a proper insight into the culture of the firm, which was obviously constrained as a result of the virtual nature of the scheme. The atmosphere was very friendly.


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


8. To what extent did the virtual experience help you to understand what it would be like to have a full time role with the company or firm?

We were given multiple talks on different departments that we would be sitting in as our seats during a training contract. This provided an understanding of what it would be like to have a full time role within the firm, and the partners who delivered the talks answered any questions that we had at the end of these talks so that we had a fuller insight into the department. We found out more about miscellaneous areas of the firm and general working life from the trainees.


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

We participated in chats with a trainee mentor and a partner mentor separately. This allowed for candid discussions on the company culture, and we also received a general knowledge on the culture through the general demeanour of everyone that we interacted with. At HSF everyone was very friendly and welcoming, and happy to talk to us about anything that we wanted to discuss. We also heard about the culture more generally in talks from various departments.


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

The virtual Vacation Scheme was useful in helping me solidify the fact that I want to go into this area of law in future. However, I did also have the benefit of other vacation schemes and also first year schemes that allowed me to see into the exact nature of what it would be like to work in a corporate law firm. Nonetheless, I particuarly enjoyed the virtual vacation scheme as I gained a deeper insight into the exact duties of a trainee.


Other Information

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

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

We had the chance to chat with our trainee buddy once and our partner mentor twice, as well as another one-on-one chat with a partner. These provided invaluable insight into their exact working lives. We also participated in a Networks carousel, so that we met employees who were on the committees for various programmes that HSF run for diversity and inclusion. These allowed us to gain greater exposure into the life of a trainee past work.


13. How were the networking/ social event opportunities?

We completed a terrarium-making social event. This involved the firm delivering us a package with compost, small plants, a terrarium pot and various other necessary items. We then completed a one hour Zoom call, where we were instructed on how to construct our terrarium properly. It was nice seeing the other vacation schemers on the call, and I now have something to remember the scheme by. It was quite creative compared to the usual in-person socials.


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


15. Would you recommend this virtual experience to a friend?

I would recommend this virtual experience to a friend. In this situation, it was undertaken in lieu of a traditional Vacation Scheme, and whilst we subsequently missed out on certain exposure to the office, the graduate recruitment team were extremely good at making sure that we were as immersed as possible into the culture of HSF even from our homes. Furthermore, it provided a good opportunity to find out more about HSF prior to my decision whether or not to join the firm.