Work experience, sitting in two different seats at the firm over the course of three weeks.
I found the vacation scheme extremely enjoyable. The work given to me was interesting and challenging - I was rarely stuck performing routine administrative tasks or proofreading. There were a number of well-planned and creative social events, and lots of opportunities to get to know people at the firm and the other vacation scheme students.
I felt very valued - there was a lot of support available, with various points of contact to whom I could turn for support or advice. Training and ice-breaker sessions were provided to help us integrate ourselves into the workplace quickly.
There was lots of guidance and support on offer. There were many people to whom I could turn for help or advice, and the scheme was well-structured so that I would not find myself at a loose end. People in the various departments were generally supportive and willing to lend a hand.
I feel that I have a much better understanding of the commercial law environment, and have developed my transferable professional skills. The vacation scheme is an excellent way of getting a training contract with Linklaters, and stands one in good stead for applying to other firms as well.
The scheme was well-structured: information sessions and talks were spread out quite evenly over the duration of my time at Linklaters, and there was a clear timetable. The only complaint is that there were a few (though not too many) sessions with HR or talks during the middle of the day, which did interrupt time in departments a little.
Extremely positive. The vacation scheme cohort got on very well, and the staff at Linklaters were very friendly. Many trainees and associates happily came over to chat to me during the working day, and I was able to approach people at all levels, including partners/heads of department.
There were a number of professional skills sessions which enabled us to develop our transferable skills. We were also given access to the firm's extensive knowledge and training resources.
Naturally the vacation scheme experience cannot fully replicate that of the trainee, but I was given various tasks similar to those undertaken by a real trainee. Spending time at the firm also gave a good sense of the culture and atmosphere, and how trainees fit into the broader picture.
A great deal: the immersion into the firm was a valuable tool in getting to know its culture, as well as the individual departments and their similarities and differences.
I was paid, but after deducting the costs of accommodation and transport etcetera, I was not left with very much money; however, the point of the exercise was to further my future career and so this is not a serious criticism.
Yes: much of the time was spent in departments with other employees of the firm and so I was able to mix with many at a variety of different levels. There were also several more formal opportunities to engage with employees, mostly trainees but also associates and partners, including a dinner with several partners at a Mayfair restaurant.
The opportunities to network with employees at the firm were very valuable, and I gleaned a lot of useful information from them. The social events generally were very elaborate and extremely good fun, and provided an opportunity to bond with the rest of the vacation scheme cohort.
Yes: there was a specific session organised to explore the various extracurricular opportunities at the firm, as well as a presentation on the pro bono work in which trainees can become involved.
I would absolutely recommend the vacation scheme as a wonderful experience in itself and an extremely useful tool for career advancement.