Back to overview

Vacation scheme insider

Christina Newall

Christina Newall


Spring 2023




University of Edinburgh

What did a day on the vacation scheme look like? 

The vacation scheme consisted of presentations, social events, assessed work and client work; no two days were the same! The scheme was unique in that we weren’t placed in a particular practice area, rather all the attendees sat together and had to seek out work from the departments that interested them. As a result, we were free to organise our days based on how we wished to balance these obligations, which I felt best mimicked what life would be like as a trainee at the firm.

After checking my calendar to see which presentations we had for the day, I’d get in touch with my mentor to get involved in any work or meetings that she had scheduled. In the afternoon, I would reach out to associates sitting in different departments for tasks, which enabled me to gain insights into a variety of practice areas. Later, I set aside time to work on our assessed tasks, which consisted of a drafting exercise and a group presentation. Depending on the day, we also had a variety of social events, including a dinner with all the attendees and our mentors to celebrate the end of the scheme.

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

The most enjoyable aspect was definitely getting to know all of the individuals at the firm. Given the size of the London office, you could really feel that everyone was invested in the recruitment process. Not only was there an open-door policy for the vac schemers to reach out to incredibly inspiring lawyers, but everyone was also eager to engage in honest conversation over a range of topics.

The most challenging part of the scheme was balancing competing obligations. It’s crucial to stick to reasonable deadlines and be realistic about how much work you’re able to take on.

What’s the most important thing you learnt about the firm while on the scheme? 

The most important thing I learned was how much the firm values collegiality and what this looks like in practice. On the business side, leaner teams mean that lawyers need to be more efficient and collaborative to benefit their clients. In this regard, I saw my trainee mentor managing her own workflow and working directly with a partner from another department on a matter. On a more informal level, I saw that collegiality was fostered through building cross-departmental relationships, which was apparent through attending a women’s resource group social and the firm’s emphasis on pro-bono work.

What key skills are required to have a successful experience on the vacation scheme? 

I think having an entrepreneurial spirit is important to be successful on the vacation scheme. This means taking the initiative to reach out to as many individuals as you can and bringing a genuine curiosity (and evidence to support this curiosity) into each interaction.

How can future vacation schemers ensure they get the most out of the scheme? 

Treat every interaction as your first and last opportunity with the firm – whether this is an assessed interview or an informal coffee chat. This means being fully prepared with insightful questions to show that you aren’t taking people’s time for granted. This approach helped me to make the most of each interaction and determine whether I’d be a good fit within the firm. I also believe it enabled my genuine enthusiasm and ability to shine through.