I completed a three week virtual vacation scheme at the firm. It was really well-organised, and we were sent an agenda for the three weeks and our IT equipment beforehand. We were able to specify which practice areas we'd like to sit in - I sat with a disputes team for two weeks and the Competition Regulation and Trade team for one. My tasks ranged from research on specific points of law or processes, to preparing an update for a ongoing client relationship project, as well as helping prepare documents for Court.
As a non-law graduate, the scheme really helped develop my legal research skills. It also helped me understand what information is relevant to clients, and how to adapt my writing style for an internal and external audience. Over the course of the scheme, I also spoke one-on-one to people from all across the firm, ranging from other associates to partners. This helped me build my communication skills and my ability to create rapport with a wide range of different people.
Graduate Recruitment arranged presentations for us from practice areas all across the business, which was great for understanding where we might like to sit if we train with the firm. We were also able to set up chats with people if there were additional areas we were specifically interested in - I did this with a few people who were all really willing to give me their time. I also felt that the scheme gave me a really good insight into the role of a trainee at the firm, as well as a commercial lawyer. I was able to compare this experience to my non-commercial legal experience, so it was really helpful in deciding whether I would enjoy this as a career.
People were mostly really welcoming and willing to give up their time to speak with me, as well as being genuinely interested in why I'd applied to the firm and what interested me about a legal career. The effort which the firm puts into the scheme also shows that they value their trainees, which was echoed by the trainees I spoke to. The firm also clearly emphasises its commitment to diversity across all areas, from race to social mobility - it felt very inclusive.
I really enjoyed it - I felt like I got a great insight into the firm and the role of a trainee, but also found it really challenging so I feel like I learnt a lot. I also really enjoyed speaking to different people. People were generally very nice, friendly, and happy to chat about non-work things as well as work which made it easier to imagine making friends at the firm. As the event was entirely virtual, it was a shame to not to be able to get to know the other vacation schemers as well as we might have in person.
It sounds like a cliche, but be yourself! Think about why you specifically want to apply for a vacation scheme with HSF as opposed to other firms. I found that attending events beforehand really helped me get a feel for the firm and its culture, as far as you're able to without working there. Let your personality, experiences, and motivation come across in the application form - this way you'll stand out from the thousands of other applications. Once you're on the scheme, also just be yourself! The firm want someone who is capable but also nice and easy to get along with.
Insight / Vacation Scheme (< 4 Weeks)
2nd July 2021