The virtual experience surpassed my expectations. Despite being apprehensive about the virtual format, I was instantly put at ease by the friendliness of the graduate recruitment team, who had worked so hard to make the virtual experience as seamless and helpful as possible. The opportunity to hear from different speakers across the firm on topics ranging from diversity to pro bono provided me with an in depth insight into DLA Piper. The opportunity to work with other interns in the Leeds office on a group task was also an amazing opportunity to get to know other interns really well, despite it being online.
All employees were very understanding of the situation, and went to great lengths to make us feel welcome and get a lot out of the experience. Employees were encouraging us to get in contact with them with any questions we had, and were always willing to have a 'virtual coffee' to get to know them and ask them questions about DLA Piper. This was invaluable, and really showed me how much DLA Piper value their trainees.
The Graduate Recruitment team sent us regular emails in the run up to the virtual scheme in order for us to understand how the programme would be run and when. Despite the circumstances, I felt very supported during the week. Employees and graduate recruitment were always on hand to ask any questions to. When preparing for the group pitch, 'drop-in' sessions with DLA Piper trainees were really invaluable, as it gave us a platform in which we could ask them for their advice and tips.
I learned a lot throughout the week. For instance, my communication skills developed greatly as I learned how to master a pitch with a group of other interns. This was something I had not had much opportunity to do before, so it has definitely given me a lot more confidence in my public-speaking and persuasive skills. This will help me as I go on to study my LPC, in addition to being a transferable skill which I will be able to utilise in practice.
Each day, the Graduate Recruitment team we would go over the days' itinerary, which had also been sent to us in advance via email. This helped us to understand exactly what was going on throughout the day and how we could prioritise our commitments to the group project with the other sessions that were being run. Before the virtual experience began, we were also sent a large briefing pack which contained the relevant information about the experience.
Everybody was lovely, welcoming and very enthusiastic to be there. This was something I was initially apprehensive about, as I didn't know how well the atmosphere would transfer over a computer screen. I didn't need to worry about this at all though, as the enthusiasm shined through the way in which the graduate recruitment encouraged to speak to each other and ask questions throughout the experience. Also, free JustEat vouchers and a general knowledge quiz with the trainees over a takeaway on the first evening was absolutely amazing. It definitely made us feel at ease and set us up for an amazing week!
DLA Piper really wanted us to get as much out of the experience as possible. At all times, DLA Piper were checking to see if we had everything we needed to complete the internship to the best of our abilities, and we only needed to email them if this was not the case and they would endeavour to resolve this issue for us. This gave us the best foundation on which we could complete the internship to our full potential.
The opportunity to hear different people from across the firm speak definitely helped me to understand everything that DLA Piper had to offer. In the firm-specific sessions, we got to hear from employees in each practice area, who gave us talks on what they each did in their respective areas. This gave us a good insight into what we could expect if we worked at DLA Piper. The informative sessions on pro bono and diversity also gave us a glimpse into what we could get involved with as a trainee and employee at the firm.
The virtual experience had many insightful talks from different employees at different levels across DLA Piper. Hearing a variety of different speakers helped me to understand there was one unifying virtue that defines the DLA Piper culture: everybody is passionate, friendly and enthusiastic. Talks on pro bono and diversity also helped me to understand the commitment across DLA Piper to be a welcoming environment for everybody, with a strong focus on creating an inclusive culture and helping add value in society.
This experience consolidated that DLA Piper was the firm for me. Through getting to hear about DLA Piper's different practice areas, their commitment to diversity and inclusion, and their impact in wider society through their commitments to pro bono, helped me to understand that this was a firm I would be happy to work for.
DLA Piper reimbursed us generously for the week. We were also given treats throughout the week in the form of stationery freebies and a lot of Just Eat vouchers which happily fed me my favourite takeaways on more than one occasion!
There were plenty of opportunities to network and meet other employees from the firm. Each panel session left plenty of time to ask our own questions to the employees, which gave us an insight into what they do. All employees were also very willing for us to reach out to them. I personally reached out with further questions to a few members of the firm, who were all incredibly friendly and willing to connect and answer the questions via phone call!
The social and networking opportunities were great. My personal highlight was the takeaway quiz night, in which DLA Piper sent each intern their own JustEat vouchers so we could order in our favourite food whilst doing an informal quiz with the trainees. This was great and really helped me to feel at ease.
The Pro Bono, Responsible Business and Diversity panels were very informative in allowing us interns to see what we could get involved with at the firm. Outside of work, trainees are encouraged to participate in charity work and fundraising, which is backed by the firm. We also found out about the social opportunities different departments offer... I was very interested to hear from one associate that her team were planning a virtual cheese and wine tasting night!
I would 100% recommend this virtual experience to a friend. Despite my worry that a virtual experience may not live up to the standards of the regular internship, the experience definitely surpassed my expectations. The Graduate Recruitment team had clearly planned this very thoughtfully in order to give us as great an experience as possible. I found the whole scheme very insightful, rewarding and enjoyable, and would definitely recommend other students to apply.
12th November 2020