Having had minimal practical experience in the legal field, the structured and well-thought out nature of this placement gave me a terrific insight into the tasks I would be completing if I were to be successful in gaining a Training Contract. Within the first day I was drafting clauses and emails to clients and was receiving that first-hand experience that is invaluable to an aspiring solicitor.
From the outset I was involved in the firms general day-to-day activities and felt that even as a Vacation Scheme student that I could contribute to the collective effort. Everyone was extremely welcoming with an initial introduction to the office and the people I would be working with and then gradually throughout the week I was involved in team meetings, training sessions and social activities.
They have a host system at Shoosmiths which effectively means you are 'buddied' up with someone from the word go. From my experience these people are nothing short of amazing, making you feel instantly settled and welcome within the firm. They support you throughout the week in the tasks that you have been asked to complete and you can always go to them with any questions you may have, They get you involved in activities both within the firm and outside of it so you get a real flavour of the character of the organisation you are working in. Also, everyone, not just the host, is appreciative of the fact that you are very new to this kind of work and therefore you will find them all to be extremely approachable.
As mentioned, the practical aspect to this placement was the overwhelming selling point. The tasks that we were asked to perform such as a client-based project, drafting emails, clauses and letters to court are precisely the tasks that we would be asked to do in the first stages of our Training Contract and such experience is invaluable. Also, the firm is extremely current and up-to-date with the tasks that were set catered to make us think of innovative solutions to tackle the changing and increasingly challenging legal market.
Unparalleled! On the first day we were given our weekly packs with all the information regarding our mini assignments and presentations clearly laid out. Instantly we knew we had to manage our time well (an important skill for any solicitor) due to the number of tasks as well as the work we were to be given by our hosts and departments. The tasks were well divided and covered different areas of law to give us a well-rounded experience. The departments had work readily available to pass over to us so clearly everything was well-prepared.
The atmosphere was welcoming and everyone was very approachable. It is a hard-working and highly reputable firm and although the focus as always is on the work you never feel isolated in their working environment. They have an open plan office which means you can go and speak to anyone, including partners, about any questions you may have.
I was invited to attend a training session that was being conducted by the firms Nottingham Office which gave me a real insight into how large-scale solicitors practices feed through legal updates to their teams. Also, all the pre-arranged tasks were a perfect starting point for my future training and development as a solicitor.
It was a perfect insight because as previously mentioned I felt like I was part of the firm even for just that one week. I was doing all the tasks that would normally be associated with the work of a Trainee Solicitor.
The mini-project was geared towards understanding the history of the company, what it can offer and where it is headed. It was a great way to talk to people within the firm and do some independent research to discover how the people working their perceive the firm. The website can only tell us so much about company culture, it is best to ask those that actually work there to find out if the values truly are lived and breathed (from my experience they undoubtedly were!)
The amount I am to be paid for this week is substantially above that made by other firms within the legal sector.
The tasks were very much geared towards meeting as many people as you could within the firm; by the time I left I had spoken to virtually everyone that worked within the firm which is no mean feat considering its size. As Vacation scheme students we were asked to do social tasks such as collecting 'dress-down' day money which enabled us to get our face shown throughout the office. Also, as above I met people from other offices, including the Nottingham Office, and had the opportunity to sit in on department meetings.
Very diverse (details above) considering that we were only at the firm for one week.
I not only found out about them but actually got involved too. On the first day, we were invited to lunch with the existing trainees and this enabled us to have a sociable chat outside the working environment and everyone got to know each other; we were developing relationships from the outset. Also we were invited to after-work drinks and helped with the drinks trolley on Fridays. Finally, we were introduced to the concept of `New Friday` which is a social organisation developed by Shoosmiths which aims to change the face of networking events, another example of how Shoosmiths is a modern firm.
Undoubtedly! You can see why Shoosmiths has gained the accolades it has for its Vacation Scheme.
Insight / Vacation Scheme (< 4 Weeks)
10th July 2014
Less than £ 10,000