On the first day, we listened to the Managing Director, a member of the pro bono team and some trainees. I particularly liked listening to the Managing Director, she was inspiring and gave a great insight into the firm, most of us really appreciated her talk. There was a Q&A session afterwards, in which only a limited amount of people were chosen to be answered (although they did answer some more the next day). We also listened to the pro bono section which was fascinating, I quite enjoyed listening to that but again, the scheme did not allow much time for sufficient questions to be answered. We also had the opportunities to listen to trainees throughout the scheme, overall I think it was a good idea to listen to different trainees. On day two, we listened to a corporate partner, got an insight into their employee networks and did a skills 'workshop'. The partner's talks were great, they were informative and interesting, but again, not many people had the chance of asking questions. At this point, there seemed to be a pattern that only the same people on repeat were being answered which was highly disappointing as most others weren't given the same chance to make an impression. The employee networks were interesting to hear from. At the end of the day, we partook in a skills 'workshop'. In other firms I have been at, usually, their workshops were engaging and interactive, however, DLA Piper took the route of a more presentation style internship rather than an interactive one. The only way in which we were able to interact or engage, was through questions (which as I said before, not everyone had the opportunity to do this due to time constraints). On the last day, we listened to two trainee focused sessions, a session on navigating the virtual world and an overview of the SQE. I think that the navigating the virtual world session would have been more useful at the beginning of the insight scheme rather than the end. The sessions with the trainees were the same as the other days and the SQE session was informative and clearly presented. Overall, I think that the scheme could be improved by making it more interactive and personable. It felt very time-constrained which is understandable but after having three days, one would expect them to make the scheme more engaging and interactive with a personal feel. It felt as though I was just attending a 3 day-long presentation. On a more positive note, I enjoyed the partner speakers and the pro bono talk, they covered interesting topics and the employee network was extensive which is appreciated.
Due to the fact that the scheme was not interactive, it would have been difficult to develop or learn any skills. Although, I did learn about the SQE which was incredibly useful. There was only one workshop and that was for application skills, it was useful to listen to but at the same time I didn't think they covered anything new. Maybe making the scheme more interactive and introducing workshops in which we could get involved in would help.
The scheme did well in covering a wide range of different practice areas which helped a lot in understanding about the potential roles involved. I noticed that they didn't focus on commercial awareness which was unusual as it is quite an important skill to have. Overall one got to know the different roles involved, particularly what a trainees responsibilities are as we listened to trainees every day of the scheme which was quite insightful.
We only got to find out more about the culture in the employee network sessions. They mainly covered inclusion and diversity, the initiatives put in place are great and they seem to support the employees quite well. However, from an event and social perspective nothing was really mentioned apart from once where one of the partners were talking about how the firm supports parenthood. Other than that instance, we weren't exposed to what the working culture is.
From a professional point of view, the experience was good in learning about the inner workings of the firm but from an experience point of view, I think it was lacking. There weren't any type of interaction or engagement apart from asking questions (which was limited) which made it difficult to connect with the firm, and it felt cold as there wasn't much effort put into making the scheme personal (as I know numerous firms that have made their schemes exciting and tailored). The work offered seems good and the teams are led by great partners which would be helpful in learning on the job but the company culture seems disjointed.
I would advise them to research the firm properly and see if their outlook aligns with their own. More importantly, I would tell them to get a feel for the company culture to see if they are suited to working at DLA Piper. For the application process, I would tell them to read about the recent work they have done and mention it in the application as well as the firms future targets to show you are engaged with the firm.
Insight / Vacation Scheme (< 4 Weeks)
15th April 2021