Very intense, packed three weeks but I learnt alot and really enjoyed them.
I was very lucky to have brilliant supervisors who really made the time to get to know me. They both took me out for lunch and coffee, gave me useful advice and told me plenty about their own experiences. I was trusted with a number of tasks that actually made me feel I was getting involved in the department's work (rather than just observing). Other employees at the firm were also very friendly.
Again, I was lucky with my supervisors who were happy to answer any questions I had about the tasks I had been given (and broader topics, actually). There was also alot of HR support to check we were all getting on well and a good amount of support with our client pitches and the interview at the end of the vacation scheme.
The morning talks were hugely informative. I'm not sure how useful they would be for my degree studies but I feel like by the end of the three weeks I had a much richer understanding of the work each department in the firm actually undertakes and would be in a far better position to choose departments for a training contract.
The tasks I was set were often challenging, I learnt a lot about finance and corporations by talking to my supervisors and also improved my time management (there were a number of deadlines I had to meet over the three weeks). The client pitch also improved my team-work skills, commercial awareness and presentation skills.
Excellently: a good amount of fun, work, talks and meeting people at all levels in the firm.
The atmosphere was welcoming and supportive but Allen & Overy is a very intense environment, the prospect of interviews was a little intimidating towards the end of the scheme and the days were very full. Equally, though, this made it a very exciting place to be. Also, though people were often very busy, I really appreciated that so many made the time for a chat or a coffee.
We met people at all levels in the firm (right up to managing partner). We were given talks by partners from all the main departments and provided with useful freebies and resources during our time there. We were also given a tour round the Royal Courts of Justice
I think that is a difficult thing to do in a Magic Circle firm when Vac Schemers are officially only doing 8-hour working days and generally know next to nothing about commercial law. Certainly, we were involved in real tasks in the departments (where we could actually do something to help) and I was struck by the honesty of almost everyone I spoke to (from my trainee buddy to partners): they were very upfront about the realities of the hours and the demands of the job.
You get to talk to so many people, you really get a feel for the culture (especially in the departments you sit in).
I was paid and evenings out were paid for by the firm.
As said before, people really made the time to talk to me (even outside of official networking events/people who hadn't been assigned to me by HR). Pretty much every other lunch or dinner was a networking event in some sense.
Well spaced, great variation, very enjoyable.
We had talks about the range of opportunities: I even got the chance to go to a pro bono legal advice clinic with trainees.
Great experience, very exciting place, met incredible people and learnt a huge amount.