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Vacation scheme insider

Lauren Maddock

Lauren Maddock


June 2019




University of York

What did you do while on the vacation scheme?

I was based at DWF’s London office for its two-week vacation scheme. I sat in the commercial litigation team for the first week, followed by the London market team. I really enjoyed the level of responsibility we were given – being trusted to assist teams with live matters offered great insights into trainee life.

On top of the live work, the firm hosted practice group presentations on the work involved with the real estate, corporate, dispute resolution and insurance teams. I was also assigned a trainee buddy who was available to answer questions I had throughout the scheme.

In the second week, we presented a mock-client pitch to the partners. This was a group exercise and a great opportunity for me to showcase my presentation skills, as well as what I had learnt about the firm. There were several social events that took place across the two weeks too – we did pizza making with the current trainees and had dinner with the firm’s partners. These were a great chance to network with lawyers of varying seniority.

What did you feel that you gained from the placement and what did you learn about the firm?

I was impressed with the people and culture at DWF. There was a strong sense of connectivity across the business that helps to promote an inclusive environment. I found that there was, and still is, transparent communication and collaboration at all levels of seniority; everyone I worked with appeared invested in me and my progression, which helped me to gain a lot of knowledge and confidence over the two weeks. We also had a talk on DWF’s Connected Services, which shows how the firm is a forward-thinking legal business and how it stands out from its competitors.  

Which were the most enjoyable – and most challenging – aspects of the scheme?

I found the level of responsibility and trust to work on live matters to be the most enjoyable aspect of the scheme. I received feedback on each task I completed, which meant that I could see which aspects I’d done well, and how I could improve and further develop my skills. Meanwhile, the most challenging part were the questions we faced at the end of the mock client pitch because we really had to think on our feet.

Did the scheme end with a training contract interview or some other kind of further recruitment process?

The final stage of the recruitment process is what DWF calls a ‘meet the leaders’ day, which is essentially a speed networking morning. We were split into different groups to meet with a panel consisting of DWF’s senior leadership team. In the morning we had the chance to ask the panel questions that demonstrated our knowledge and expertise but, most importantly, to showcase our enthusiasm at the prospect of joining the firm. I enjoyed this stage of the process because the panel members were welcoming and keen to get to know us too.  

Is there one key thing that you took away from the experience that you would pass on as advice to others?

Don’t be afraid to push yourself out of your comfort zone and be confident. I was keen to make a good impression and make the most of the experience by getting involved with a variety of tasks which helped to develop my knowledge and commercial awareness. You should also make the most of the networking opportunities on offer because building a network is so important.