I loved the Clifford Chance Virtual Vacation Scheme. Despite being online, it was engaging and interactive. It was hands on, but, also a supportive experience. I enjoyed the programme as I didn't just gain a surface level of knowledge, we explored the thematics and practice areas in depth. I gained a long term vision of my position in the industry and the firm too. Most importantly, I managed to grasp a understanding of the culture of the firm and thorough interaction with the firms employees and fellow interns. This was all made possible through successful virtual communication that the firm put in place for the scheme. Considering I came from a background of minimal legal exposure I feel confident that the scheme has given me the ability to tackle and continue in the legal world.
In short, the firm gave us the time of the day. They made sure we were enjoying the experience but they also made a conscious effort to stay communicated with us interns. The firm also respected our values and opinions and this was made clear in the interactive sessions with the firms Partners, Trainees and Graduate Recruitment Team. We were able to express and discuss our opinions with them. We were not shadowed, we were encouraged and supported at all times. Ultimately, leading to the feeling of respect and value.
We received a very high level of guidance both before, during and after the scheme. Before we attended virtual socials to interact and to secure our anxieties about a virtual placement. During the scheme, we were paired with a trainee buddy who supported us from the start of the scheme to this date. We were giving briefing papers and explanatory notes with the ability to ask questions beforehand and during the online sessions. We are also able to contact graduate recruitment via the online platform. All in all, I felt supported and I did not feel confused at any points.
The skils I developed - critical thinking, awareness and understanding of practice areas, organisation, communication. These skills all developed if not stemmed from the SPARK scheme, will assist me in my degree and beyond. My critical thinking skills were bought into sharp focus during the tasks we had to submit each evening, this will help me with my law degrees as I can articulate information efficiently. Overall, the skills will also help my ability to adapt, apply and succeed in the legal industry.
The scheme was organised, with timetbales and emails regularly sent out about when, where and how the virtual events would be conducted. In terms of substantive content, the structure was clear and comprehensive - being dyslexic as well I found it really easy to follow. The thematics explored in the virtual experience were structured chronologically which made everything easy to follow. Something as simple as timings were consistent meaning we would start and finish at the same time - the tasks were not all over the place, which is a easy trap in the virtual world.
The atmosphere and culture of the virtual experience was welcoming, supportive and friendly. I didn't feel like there were any awkward moments were communication was absent. I found it amazing how despite being virtual it still had the feeling/atmosphere as being in the firm. The atmosphere of the firms team and the interns was also great and I feel that I can speak on behalf of many that we felt a great connection to the firm. This inadvertnely hands to a great atmosphere and experience virtually.
The firm 100% invested as us as individuals, as students and as future trainees. For the cohort this year electronic systems were organised for us to familiarse ourselves with the virtual platforms. Events were organised for us to stay connected with the firm and other itnerns both before, during and after the programme. We were trained on self development and career progression via online portals which we had access to. This was a great way to develop the foundational skills to a legal career. We were also given videos and sessions to engage with so we can understand the substantive content of practice areas. Personally, the firm organised a dyslexic lawyer to discuss strategies with me to aid and support my learning difficulties.
Before this scheme I had little if not no awareness of what it would be like to have a role with the firm. But the scheme had a sharp focus on raising our understanding and awareness of the role of the trainee and beyond. We had sessions conducted with trainees where they talked us through their role in the firm and what their day to day life incurs. We were also paired with an employee of the firm who we would regularly chat to - leading to a greater understanding of the firm. Finally, each day we were assigned a mock scenario to complete in different formats. This meant that I have completed client calls, document drafting and teamwork research - all potential real life examples.
I was worried how I would understand the company culture with the scheme being online, however, with the mass of interactive events, talks and tasks in place it was impossible to not understand how the firm and their people work. I found it really enjoyable having catchups with my trainee buddy where she shared her day to day tasks as a trainee, this helped me understand how the firm priortises their employees needs. Beyond work, we were introduced into a variety of the firms external projects, this helped me understand the firms culture and aim to shape and support the wider context of the legal world.
I was unsure about my suitability to the legal industry before the scheme. However, now I have completed the virtual scheme I can visualise myself in the legal world. I feel suitable that this is the right career choice for me, simply because of the depth the virtual placement went into. The content was highly valuable and has not only helped my decision to embark on a legal career but has developed my suitability to the industry.
I was paid and reimbursed expenses where appropriate (ie before the virtual elements of the scheme).
Yes! Before the scheme - events with the firm and its employees. Events and sessions with partnering companies of the firm. Paired with a trainee buddy to support my journey. During the scheme - chat function with other interns and the firms employees, virtual socials and feedback forms. netwroking sessions and activities such as yoga and cooking organised with the firm to meet the employees outside of thr working environment. After the scheme - virtual catchups, virtual sessions and training. Catchups with our trainee buddy.
They were in all honesty really fun. They acted as a great ice breaker to meet everyone and the firm on a less serious environment. The social events were really unique and enjoyable considering most of us were isolated and alone in lockdown. Due to the frequency of social events it was great to see the same faces regularly, many of which we stay in contact with due to the chat function the firm activated for the interns.
26th November 2020