Vacation Scheme Student

by Herbert Smith Freehills


  • About You
  • The Company
  • Everything Else

    About You

  • 1. To what extent did you enjoy the insight?
  • Really interesting scheme - genuine effort was made by the GR team and all those involved to provide a real insight into the firm's offering and what a future career at the firm might look like. It was useful to get experience over two weeks in separate departments and receive work from within these - alongside more general presentations from the various teams and additional exercises which encouraged group work and getting to know the other individuals on the scheme.


  • 2. To what extent did you feel valued during your time at the company or firm?
  • My supervisors on the scheme made a genuine effort to involve me in the work that they were doing and took the time to discuss this with me. There is a clear culture of involvement and inclusivity. No question was too big or too small and there was a degree of flexibility to tackle a specific type of work if that is what you were interested in. Overall, I felt very valued during my time at the firm.


  • 3. How much guidance/support did you receive during the insight?
  • Before the scheme, the GR team ran a Q&A session which was useful in getting to know the application process and joining the firm for the scheme. I had regular catch-ups with senior lawyers along with regular catch up with a buddy and then several ad hoc liaisons with other employees. The GR team made an active effort to emphasise that if you needed any guidance or additional support, then this would be available. Overall a good experience.


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


    The Company

  • 5. How well structured was the insight?
  • Very well structured. A comprehensive agenda was provided to us for the two weeks of the scheme. We were given the opportunity to meet different departments along with the opportunity for less formal get-togethers in the form of evening 'socials'. Due to the use of the firm's technology and interfaces, it was always clear where and when we needed to attend certain events or functions. An active effort was always made to include people in discussions where appropriate.


  • 6. How was the general atmosphere during your insight?
  • Friendly atmosphere. For the most part, there was not a 'competition' culture and it was possible to connect with other people on the insight scheme and employees at the firm in a positive environment. An active effort was made to involve people in tasks at all levels and there was an understanding of ability and limitations. Although the work was challenging, there was never any suggestion that you were being judged or assessed in a negative manner.


  • 7. In terms of personal training and development, to what extent did the company or firm invest in you?
  • The company sent out full IT equipment to enable everyone to participate in the scheme. This included headsets, laptops, and other equipment. There was a significant time investment from the firm - senior members of the teams made an active effort to spend time with you to explain their work and how you can get involved at the trainee level. The firm clearly invested in us financially and operationally to ensure a positive and real experience.


  • 8. To what extent did the insight help you to understand what it would be like to have a full time role with the company or firm?
  • Very well. One of the emphasises, throughout my time at the firm was looking at what my role might be as a trainee. This was insightful and enabled me to build a picture of what a future career based at the firm would look like. I was involved in several different pieces of work which varied from administrative tasks to drafting exercises that might normally be assigned to a NQ. This gave a realistic breadth of experience as to what a full-time role might look like at the firm.


  • 9. How much did the insight help you in understanding the company culture?
  • The firm successfully adopted a show, rather than tell approach to understanding the company culture. Working at an international law firm is known to be a considerable personal investment but the open and transparent environment demonstrated that the firm has a progressive outlook when it comes to their culture. There are proper flexible working policies in place and we were encouraged to speak openly to people about the culture and environment. The firm is considerably large, as such - it was difficult initially to understand the structure and hierarchy at the firm.


  • 10. How valuable was the content in helping you to decide on your future career path?
  • My experience at the firm has solidified my decision to pursue a career in an international commercial law firm. The breadth of experience gained through the scheme has been unmatched in any other insight day or scheme experience which I have had. For anyone who is genuinely interested in a commercial law career, a scheme such as this will provide you with the relevant insights and awareness of what such a career might entail. Highly recommended.


    Everything Else

  • 11. Were you paid or reimbursed adequately for this experience?
  • We were paid a competitive market salary for the two weeks.

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


  • 13. How were the networking/ social event opportunities?
  • There were ample opportunities for networking. Employees at the firm were keen to connect with us through LinkedIn and we had the opportunity to discuss relevant topical issues pertaining to each practice area. Despite the difficulty associated with social events, the GR team put in place several formal and informal social events to enable us to get to know one another on a personal basis. These were clearly well thought out and demonstrated that the firm was genuinely interested in providing us with opportunities for networking and socialising.


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


  • 15. Would you recommend this insight to a friend?
  • Absolutely - what a great experience. The insight scheme was accessible to people from both a law and non-law background and there was a genuine investment into us as vacation scheme students. The scheme was good enough to give anyone a realistic and optimistic perspective on what a career at HSF might look like. I have already advised some friends to look at applying for this scheme and will continue to recommend it to friends and family.


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Insight / Vacation Scheme (< 4 Weeks)

Banking and Finance Law, Commercial Law

Central London and City

December 2020

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