Given the need to move the vacation scheme online due to COVID, the Latham summer scheme was held on InsideSherpa. We got a very good insight into the various practice areas of the firm. Each practice area talks were digestible and followed with a Q&A where you can ask questions. Whilst it is not possible to get real client work due to us working remotely, we got a very good taste of the life as a trainee with the tasks we were assigned with.
I feel very valued. Following each practice area talks, the lawyers always welcome us to reach out if we have further questions. The Graduate Recruitment Team was excellent at linking me up with lawyers from areas of law I am interested in. For instance, I was able to set up a call with an associate in the litigation team. Even partners were very approachable. I was able to jump on a call with a partner about questions I had following a practice area presentation.
We were well supported during the scheme. Each vacation scheme student was assigned a mentor (an associate) and a trainee buddy. We had regular catch-ups during the week. The Graduate Recruitment Team was always there for any concerns we have. Other trainees were also very supportive, they will reach out with tips and answer questions we have about the firm/ training contract. Overall I felt very well guided despite the scheme being online due to COVID.
I would say the main skills developed and tested during the virtual vacation scheme are more relevant to a career in the City than say, academics. I did both corporate and litigation tasks. The corporate tasks required a skill that was not really thought in law school: drafting a letter to a client suggesting additional protections during a M&A deal. This required an understanding of the client's business needs and finding the appropriate legal solutions. The litigation tasks involved legal research. Unlike law school, we have to make sure it is digestible to the client.
It was very well structured. Each day of the week had a good mix of practice area talks and networking events. The presentations and events were not packed too closely together, so I would say no one felt too exhausted by the end of the day! This did not mean we have the afternoon/ night free to ourselves. There was a lot of 'free' time, but we had to smartly plan our own schedule: for instance when to work on our tasks and whether to have a call with a lawyer. This is very much reflective of the autonomy and trust given by Latham to its trainees.
It was very social among the vacation scheme students. We organised our own Zoom socials. We had a whatsapp group and were quite supportive of eachother. During the presentations, no one was 'scared' to ask questions. The lawyers presenting were aware that what they are saying may be very technical so they always do it in an understandable manner. That helps the atmosphere as well. We also had a trainee-social where we played a virtual escape game, that definitely helped to break the ice and made it easier to network with the trainees.
It was quite clear that the firm wanted and did invest in vacation scheme students. The practice area talks were detailed and the lawyers clearly spent a lot of time preparing for them. Even in lockdown, they had a lot of work so we were very grateful they spent time speaking to us. We were even invited to the corporate morning exercise (Zoom), so we felt included and it was a fun experience doing sports on Zoom!
I got a much better idea of what it will be like working at Latham as a trainee. From the tasks we do, I got a very good sense of the day to day tasks expected of a trainee. The trainees said the same thing: they were given early opportunity to take on responsibilities. This could be doing the first draft of an agreement, doing the legal research. We were definitely not 'thrown into the ocean and swim on our own'. We had a lot of support and guidance along the way.
Like I said before, the virtual vacation scheme confirmed that Latham has a very good firm culture. In terms of openness, trainees/ lawyers were very open about their experience at Latham. It was not hard to ask the hard questions. We also had opportunities to find out more about Affinity Groups, which is unique to Latham's inclusive and diverse culture. Overall I was quite convinced that Latham was the right firm for me. And I will not hesitate to train here.
It was very valuable in helping me to decide on my future career path. We had a very diverse range of practice area talks. Latham is well known for its capacity in a range of industries, sectors and practice areas. So we were definitely given a broad view as to the possibilities if we join Latham. During the networking events, we had valuable advice and insights from partners who had many many years of experience ahead of us. They gave us very good tips on how to pursue our interest.
yes I was paid for this experience. The original pay was £350 a week, for two weeks. However, due to COVID we were only able to do 1 week of vacation scheme, and that is reflected in our pay. However, because we were doing the scheme from the comfort of our own homes, it was more than enough to cover food and living expenses. We saved up from having to travel to the office every day.
Yes there were a lot of opportunities to network and meet other employees of the company or firm. We had talks with professional staff. For instance, we had library induction where we spoke to the knowledge management specialists. It was insightful because it is important to have good knowledge management at a law firm. We also had the chance to speak to other professional/ support staff. It was important so we get an idea of everyone of the firm.
On the first day, we had chance to chat with the Graduate Recruitment Team and Graduate Recruitment Committee. This gave me a better idea of what qualities they are looking for in a trainee. We also had a fantastic social event with the trainees. We were split into groups and had a virtual escape room. It was a fun way to get to know people better whilst testing our team work. And during the scheme we were given the opportunity to have a chat with lawyers whose works interest us.
Yes. Latham is a very busy practice and lawyers do work long hours during busy season. However, the culture is very much work hard - social hard. Trainees are a very tight group (you get 24 in each cohort), so there are plenty of formal and informal socials among the trainees. There are also various sporting activities one can join outside of work. The firm is also very supportive of people taking initiative. So if you have an idea of hosting an event, just bring it up!
Definitely will. I personally benefited significantly from this opportunity. You often go to career events or firm presentations, sometimes we walk away with the wrong idea of what it is like to work at an American firm. However this insight week definitely gave me a much better idea of what the life of a trainee is like at Latham. It is very important to 'see for yourself'. So I would recommend anyone interested in a career in law to apply to this.
Insight / Vacation Scheme (< 4 Weeks)
Central London and City