I enjoyed the vacation scheme to a large extent. Generally, the people at the firm were very willing to get to know us, delegate meaningful tasks, provide guidance and feedback. BCLP's practice areas and strength in real estate and asset finance were quite different from the other firms I had internships in. Therefore, the scheme was a great learning opportunity. The small intake of the HK scheme enabled us to build deeper relationships with our batch mates and our buddies.
I felt highly valued during the time at BCLP primarily because of the small intake of each batch. Partners, associates and the talent manager were all very friendly to us and willing to get to know us. I was asked to conduct research and draft responses to clients which I received recognition for the quality of my work. I truly believe people at the firm wanted us to do well in the 3 weeks and were helpful.
We each get an associate buddy and a trainee buddy throughout the 3 weeks. My associate buddy was very willing to delegate work to me and involve me in her client meetings. She would copy me in the emails with final versions so that I can cross-check my work against hers and improve. She also gave me much insights on the opportunities at the firm, general career prospects and advised me on how to build relationships as an aspiring lawyer.
The skills I were able to hone throughout the scheme were mainly communications, legal research and presentation skills. Communication skill is very important for my career development in terms of networking or in the future workplace. Legal research skills are also vital for my studies and in my future traineeship. For presentation skills, it was my first time doing a Webinar type presentation which involved audience from not just HK but the Singapore office and I have received constructive feedback from them.
The scheme was very-well structured especially in such a difficult year. We had assessments, interviews, partner-led workshops, presentations in the 2 weeks which we could physically work at the office. They were all very well-timed and structured. It gave me a great depth of information as to BCLP's practice areas, its clientele and its training program and opportunities. Trainings and catch-up sessions with the Graduate Recruitment team was also scheduled in the one week which we had to work from home.
The general atmosphere was very friendly, intellectual-stimulating and supportive. The open-plan office definitely helped the vacation scheme students go around to connect with people and ask questions. The level of responsibility given to us and the research questions were intellectually stimulating and lawyers were good at giving instructions and helped us understand the contexts of the legal questions. Support came from all levels of staff, from the tea lady to trainee buddies to partners were all very friendly and supportive throughout the scheme.
There were generally great support, training and guidance throughout the scheme. Partners and associates would carve out time to schedule virtual coffee with me because of the Covid-19 situation which I appreciated a lot. Perhaps because it had only been three weeks in total, it was difficult to invest in personal development because most of the time were spent on getting to know more about the firm and letting the firm know more about you.
On the first day, we were given a welcome/training session by the graduate recruitment team to know more about the training contract opportunities at the firm which included continuous learning workshops and secondments. I especially enjoyed the partner-led workshop on a general overview of the values and strengths of the firm, as well as on real estate, asset finance, and IACD practices. We were given opportunities to ask questions which deepened my understanding of the firm.
Vacation schemes are always the best way to get to know the firm's culture and whether its people actually were like what they advertised to be. I felt like BCLP has a supportive and friendly culture with a strong focus on learning and development. The open plan office and the out-going personalities of the people at the firm reinforced these cultures. The firm also has learning and development hours which meant it values knowledge sharing.
The content of the scheme were very focused on the opportunities at the firm which made sense. However, I would have to say BCLP's in HK is very real estate focused and its practices like aviation/asset finance are very niche. It was great to learn about these practices but if I had not done other internships which exposed me to more practice areas or focuses, I would have a comprehensive understanding of the opportunities in the legal market.
We had a partner lunch, and lunches with associates, trainees and talent managers. It was a more informal opportunity to chat and network with them. We also had a farewell party for an associate which we gathered to have drinks and desserts, which we were able to network with all levels of staff at the firm. It was unfortunate that because of the Covid situation our farewell drinks and happy hours had to be cancelled but all in all, there were good opportunities to meet people.
It was generally a very positive experience for a student like me who has done several internships in international law firms who are looking for a firm with a good culture, supportive environment and exposure to practice areas which they have not been exposed to. What the firm could do more is perhaps a seat rotation in between the scheme so that it will be easier to get to know other colleagues from different practices.
Insight / Vacation Scheme (< 4 Weeks)
9th August 2020