We took part in several sessions spread out over 3 days. These included application skills sessions, insights into different departments across the firm, spotlights sessions with current trainees, and Q&A sessions with graduate recruitment and various solicitors. There were plenty regular breaks during the programme, and the length of sessions varied to break things up. We were also given a separate commercial task to do on our own time which involved conducting due diligence and drafting documents, with a review session of our answers to be held later in the month.
I think my understanding of the firm definitely increased, and their personality/ what they are looking for in a trainee really came through in the sessions. I also found the session on the SQE very helpful. I think that this scheme is ideal for those who have little experience with commercial law or the commercial world in general, as each speaker ensured that the terminology used was easy to understand and that basic concepts were covered. This maybe means that I developed my skills and knowledge less than others, as I was already aware of a lot of what was covered.
I think this was the main strength of the programme- we heard from employees at all levels of the firm and trainees from a variety of backgrounds. The Q&A sessions were helpful and probably the part of the scheme I most enjoyed, however I don't think they were timed very time. There were over 100 people on the programme who all wanted to ask questions to speakers, and there was no system in place to manage who got to ask questions, so it all felt a bit chaotic. I put my hand up in almost every session but didn't get to ask any questions, as people were picked at random. I also think that the days were a bit short and we could have done with fewer breaks and a wider variety of sessions.
I think that DLA Piper came across very well- graduate recruitment in particular were very welcoming, considerate of participants at all levels, and overall friendly. I think that the programme felt more relaxed than others I have attended, and the partners felt approachable and eager to answer questions. I particularly enjoyed the sessions on diversity groups which were highly interactive, and I think that the firm puts a heavy focus on inclusivity and diversity, which really shone through. We were even encouraged to connect with speakers and members of the firm online and to continue our relationships with them.
I enjoyed some aspects of the scheme, although I don't think it was really for me. I do think that the structure of the scheme could have been improved, both in terms of sorting out the issues with the Q&A, and in giving us a lot more opportunity for interaction. We didn't get any opportunity to talk to each other at all, and there were no interactive sessions where we got to present or do a task together, which I felt would have been interesting to break up the constant being talked at. The only interactive opportunity we had was the task that we had to do on our own time, and I think it would have been nice to do some of the preparation from the task with others. I also think that the scheme wasn't as helpful for people that are more knowledgeable about commercial law, and although I do appreciate that the firm made a lot of effort not to push people to speak out, I think it would have been good to have been challenged and pushed a little bit. It felt sort of repetitive because of this, and almost like I was babied. Overall, I think the main issue was that there were too many people on the scheme for it to be really effective for all of us, and it felt more like an open day stretched over three days than an insight scheme. I think the content could have been condensed to fit in more networking or interactive activities. That being said, I think that the Q&A sessions with partners were fantastic, all the speakers and people I came into contact with were extremely welcoming, and I did get a good impression of the firm.
Remember to proof read your application and really look into the firm's culture when considering what you want to write in your answers, as there is a huge focus on inclusivity and open door culture. I would also highly recommend this scheme for non-law students or those who don't know very much about commercial law. For those who are already experienced in commercial law or have taken part in other insight schemes, I would really consider whether you want a more interactive/ hands-on experience before applying.
Insight / Vacation Scheme (< 4 Weeks)
10th April 2021