University of Liverpool
What work did you get involved with on the vacation scheme?
I attended DWF's Leeds vacation scheme, working in the corporate and real estate team. In each seat, I had a trainee buddy who’d provide an overview of their work and answer any questions I had. I worked on a mixture of live and previous matters, which offered insight into the work each team does. In the corporate team, I attended client meetings, carried out legal research, and reviewed warranties and indemnities. In the real estate team, I prepared a lease report and assisted in drafting documents, including a licence to occupy. Both teams were supportive, setting time aside to discuss tasks and provide feedback. I also attended practice group training sessions and meetings, a great way to meet wider teams and learn about ongoing workstreams.
The trainees arranged a social evening for the vac schemers and a dinner with the partners, which was a great way to get to know everyone. I also volunteered to take part in DWF’s 5 Star Futures event. We taught primary school children about the world of work and helped them prepare for a mock trial, which was a fun experience!
We also prepared a mock client pitch, which was a great way to find out more about the firm and experience what it’d be like to present to clients.
Which were the most enjoyable – and most challenging – aspects of the scheme?
I enjoyed meeting people across all departments and gaining a true feel for life at DWF. Everyone was extremely welcoming so I felt like part of the team immediately. A positive and supportive culture is evident throughout every team and the non-hierarchical structure meant I could approach anyone.
The scheme’s most challenging aspect was the mock client pitch, the scheme’s only assessed element. However, everyone was supportive of my team, which put us at ease ahead of the presentation.
What key skills are required to have a successful experience on the vacation scheme?
DWF champions individuality, emphasising the importance of bringing your full self to work. You should enter the scheme with a proactive attitude, an open mind and a willingness to learn. It’s important to reach out to people, learn more about what they do and demonstrate a genuine interest. DWF is a very social firm and you’ll be encouraged to maximise your vacation scheme experience. When observing your team, it’s important to have an inquisitive attitude, offer assistance where applicable and ask questions to develop your knowledge of the practice area.
How did the scheme help you to understand the firm better as a business?
The scheme really helped me to understand the firm better as a business as I learnt how each team operates through attending departmental talks and team meetings. The supervision I received in each seat was invaluable, as I gained further understanding of DWF’s commercial impact.
What’s one piece of advice you’d pass on to future vacation schemers?
To have a successful experience it’s important to be yourself. The firm wants to see your true personality, work ethic and how you’ll work as a trainee. Everyone wants you to be successful – no one is looking to trip you up.
Other than attending a vacation scheme, what’s the most relevant experience you’ve had that’s benefited your journey to becoming a lawyer?
Gaining practical experience as a paralegal was instrumental to my success obtaining a training contract. From university onwards, I completed unpaid work experience and worked as both a legal secretary and a paralegal, allowing me to understand the practicalities of working in law. Each of these roles boosted my confidence as a professional and provided a range of experiences to draw on in interviews. It’s important to also get involved in activities, whether that's joining committees, volunteering for corporate social responsibility events or attending networking events. On the vacation scheme I received positive feedback; highlighting my email etiquette, approach to tasks and proactive attitude. I believe these skills benefitted my journey into law.