BPP University Law School
Before the scheme, we were asked to list our preferred departments and I was fortunate to be allocated both my first choices – corporate and real estate. I spent my first week in corporate, where I had the opportunity to work with several members of the team, in addition to my supervisor and trainee buddy. I conducted research for a partner, reviewed a share purchase agreement and assisted a trainee on a project for a private equity client. I was encouraged to ask questions throughout the seat, and I learned a lot about the department and the types of work DWF undertakes. I had a similar experience in real estate during the second week, where I undertook research tasks, reviewed a lease and worked with many people in the team. Everyone was approachable and keen to help us make the most of our time at DWF. In addition to the work itself, there were a number of social events as well as talks organised by different departments throughout the vacation scheme. It was very well-structured overall.
In addition to getting a sense of what it would be like to work at DWF, I also developed a greater understanding of its overall strategy – during the scheme DWF announced that it was considering a public offering, which was indicative of the firm’s future growth plans and is an unprecedented move for a firm of DWF’s size.
I really enjoyed the talks given by the different departments, each of which was led by a partner or senior associate. They provided insight into DWF as a whole and the types of deals that each team works on, beyond the two departments I worked in during the scheme. The most challenging part of the scheme was figuring out how to balance working on a group presentation that we had to deliver to a panel of partners with day-to-day tasks.
If you have performed well, you are an invited to a half-day event with all the other training contract candidates which takes place after the vacation scheme. You are split into groups of three and then one partner after another comes into the room for 15 minutes or so and you ask them questions. It is similar to speed networking and it inverts the typical interview structure. We were told which partners would be attending the event so we could do some research and decide what we were going to ask. A few hours after this takes place, Andrew Leaitherland, DWF’s chief executive, calls to tell you whether you are being offered a training contract.
The people at DWF are very friendly and approachable, and the best way to get the most out of this unique experience is to talk to as many people as you can – it is a great networking opportunity!