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- When: Winter 2017
- Subject: Law
- University: University of Warwick
What did you do while on the vacation scheme?
I was with the corporate transactions team, where I sat in on several client calls with the managing partner, Simon Beddow, and also conducted research tasks. Vacation schemers were set a project to work on over the week, which culminated in a group presentation in front of a panel of partners on the last day. We also attended sessions organised by the graduate recruitment team – one was a trainee-led discussion of secondment opportunities, while on another occasion we participated in speed networking with partners in different departments. On the social side, there was an after-work event with the other vacation schemers and those of us in the corporate team were also invited to the department’s Christmas party.
What did you feel that you gained from the placement?
I gained a valuable insight into how commercial lawyers work, including how they interact with clients. I was able to get a good sense of what life as a trainee at the firm would be like thanks to the sessions put on by the graduate recruitment team, as well as of the firm’s overall direction and strategy through meeting with partners, who were happy to give me their time and advice when I reached out.
Which were the most enjoyable - and most challenging - aspects of the scheme?
Talking to people at the firm was probably the most enjoyable aspect – everyone was genuinely approachable and generous with their time, from trainees to the managing partner. I was made to feel comfortable from the first day and was able to make the most of the experience through learning about specific deals and the experiences of different people at Ashurst. The experience was challenging because it was my first vacation scheme, so everything was new and I was constantly learning. The presentation was also quite daunting beforehand, as I knew I would be speaking in front of three partners and a member of the graduate recruitment team.
Did the scheme end with a training contract interview or some other kind of further recruitment process?
We were assessed on our project work and then had to submit a new training contract application after the scheme ended, based on the form we had completed to apply for a place on the scheme, but adding experiences from our week with the firm. About a month after the vacation scheme itself, I was invited to an interview with two partners.
Is there one key thing that you took away from the experience that you would pass on as advice to others?
The most valuable part of the scheme for me was the opportunity to reach out to people at the firm and benefit from one-to-one discussions with them over a coffee. Before you start the scheme, look up people you want to speak to on LinkedIn, particularly those in practice areas that you will not be exposed to during the scheme itself. You can find out a lot more by talking to people than just relying on researching online. More generally, be enthusiastic, smile and make the most of the opportunity that you have been given – it will be over in a flash!
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