1. To what extent did you enjoy your work placement or internship?
A very enjoyable experience. Everyone from HR to partners were very welcoming. The firm also put on a lot of events for the vac schemers and made us feel valued. For instance we went pizza making and on a duck tour. Some of these events were attended by HR and others were not. I think this was a nice touch as it meant that not only did you get to know the HR team better but you could also enjoy some events in a different way to others.
2. To what extent did you feel valued by your colleagues?
While how valued you feel by your trainers over the few weeks depends on how busy your trainer is I did feel that, in my experience, I was truly valued. I was given trainee level tasks to do which actually saved people time rather than simply being given a random job to keep me busy. We also had regular meetings with department partners and even with the managing partner which when viewed all together made me think that even the most senior members of staff cared about our time at the firm.
3. To what extent were you given support and guidance by management/your supervisor(s)?
As previously mentioned excellent guidance and support was given with regards to more information on the state of the firm and what each department is like.
With regards to guidance and support by my trainers this was also excellent with my first trainer in particular paying very close attention to the work I was doing. Indeed all questions were answered in a polite and friendly way no matter how small they may have been. There was definitely a clear understanding from all of my trainers that understanding concepts and the way a commercial solicitor works is a steep learning curve. Therefore as long as you took your time to do your work to a high standard they were always willing to sit down and go through it with you at a later date.
4. How busy were you on a daily basis?
Although my days were usually busy there were a couple of days when I had very little to do. However, on these days the reasons for my lack of work were both understandable and fair. For example, on one of these days my trainer had a deal clsoing and was therefore under a lot of stress and was frantically trying to make sure that every party had its documents in order. Likewise on another day where I was given little to do my trainer had actually slept in one of the office sleeping pods the previous night such was her workload.
On the most part I did feel that I was given enough work to do and that the work I was given was of a high standard and useful. We also had a client pitch to organise as well as TC interviews so while I may not always have had A&O work to do I did have vac scheme work to complete.
Finally, even on the couple of days that I was not busy I still got the chance to see what the life of a commerical solicitor is like when the workload increases near the end of a deal.
5. How much responsibility were you given during your placement?
While I certainly wasn't "running the show" I did feel as though I was given meaningful work. I ended up drafting a few letters to clients and a cp checklist all of which were legitimate trainee tasks. Indeed I did feel that my trainers saw me as an asset and gave me responsibility accordingly.
6. To what extent did/will the skills you developed, and training you received, assist you in your degree studies and beyond?
I am in absolutely no doubt that the skills and training I picked up from my time at the firm will hold me in good sted for my future career. By being exposed to an office environment for four weeks you get to learn all about the culture of the firm as well as employees' work ethics.
Furthermore, by getting this sort of experience from a top firm you get to see the highest standard of work that people will expect in the industry. I believe that attention to detail was probably the key skill that was stressed by all of my trainers and the one that I believed I developed the most during my time.
7. What was the general atmosphere in your office?
Its a top quality international law firm so it would be ridiculous to say that the "fun never stopped". However, the atmosphere certainly wasn't dull and people did seem to chat to their collegues about things other than work when they had the time. I'd say that the relaxed nature of the office was probably one of the things that surprised me the most about my time at the firm.
8. How well organised was the overall work placement or internship set up?
Excellently organised. The HR staff did a great job and any problems were sorted quickly. To be honest I don't think it could have been set up any better as from the offer of a vac scheme until the end of it the firm kept in constant contact and was always willing to answer any queries.
9. In terms of personal training and development, to what extent did the company or firm invest in you?
I felt that the company did spent a lot of time and money in trying to develop me as a person and future lawyer. I was sent abroad by the firm to work in a foreign office for a week so they were certainly willing to go the extra mile in furthering my understanding of how such a large multi-national firm operates in different jurisdictions.
10. What were the perks on your work placement?
Staff Sales/Staff Shop
11. How appealing are future employment prospects within the organisation?
Firstly, I haven't got a job with the firm and I'm not really sure why that comment is the top of the scale. Rather I would say that I certainly do want a job with them although having seen the calibre of candidates that were on the vac scheme with me I suspect it will be difficult. Although my chances are certainly better than those who have not done a vac scheme with the firm the days of the large law firms offering 120 training contracts a year is now long gone.
12. Was there a good social scene amongst any fellow placement students/colleagues?
Everyone got on well and there were definitely activities that went on outside of those organised by HR. It is important to note though that the vac scheme can be quite a draining experience so if you are hoping to go out drinking every night maybe this sort of internship isn't for you.
13. What was the cost of living and socialising in the area you worked in?
I live in London so the cost of living for me was relatively cheap. London is expensive though so if you are having to rent somewhere I would not expect to come out your time with the firm with much excess capital, if any at all. Socialising in the area was also expensive because the firm is based in central London.
14. What was the Nightlife like in the area you worked?
I didn't really experience the night life so I can't really comment. There were plenty of bars and clubs in the area if you wanted to go though.
15. Were there many opportunities to get involved in activities outside of work?
There were regular emails regarding 3-a-side football and I also went to observe some Pro Bono work. There were definitely opportunities although these were not limitless and some were first come first served.