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Vacation scheme insider

Bashira Koya

Bashira Koya


June 2023




University of Birmingham

What work did you get involved with on the vacation scheme?

During my week-long vacation scheme at Gateley’s Nottingham office, I was placed in the real estate department, actively participating in both commercial and residential real estate matters. This hands-on experience provided me with a comprehensive understanding of real estate at Gateley.

Each day I received a range of tasks from various lawyers within the department, offering a holistic view of a real estate lawyer's role at Gateley. My tasks ranged from organising court bundles to researching residential tenancies and reviewing agricultural inquiries and deeds of easements. Focusing solely on one department was beneficial because it enabled me to develop specialised skills, gain a thorough understanding of that area and make meaningful contributions to various projects.

While my focus was primarily on real estate matters, I also had the opportunity to explore other legal areas, engaging in conversations and with professionals from departments like dispute resolution and commercial law.

The combination of engaging tasks, cross-departmental exposure, and a nurturing environment made this vacation scheme an invaluable step toward my future legal career. My time at Gateley underscored the significance of precision in property transactions and left me eager to contribute to the legal field with newfound skills and insights.

Did the scheme end with a training contract interview?

Yes, the scheme ended with a training contract interview. The interview was quite relaxed and informal and it felt more like a chat with friends!

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

The standout insight I gained about the firm during the scheme is its remarkably non-hierarchical ethos. The approachability and friendliness of everyone at the firm, from trainees to partners, fosters an inclusive and inviting atmosphere across the organisation. This crucial facet made me feel genuinely supported and at ease in all my interactions. The firm's strong commitment to nurturing positive relationships and teamwork is unmistakably at its core.

How did the scheme help you to understand the firm better as a business?

The scheme provided me invaluable insights into the intricate dynamics of a legal and professional services business. Working in the firm allowed me to witness the interaction between Gateley and the professional services, accentuating the unique character of the firm within the legal landscape. Moreover, I gained an understanding of law firms' inner workings, including revenue generation through concepts like chargeable hours. This experience significantly deepened my grasp of the business dimension of the legal field.

What’s one piece of advice you’d pass on to future vacation schemers?

My top tip to future vacation schemers it to embrace the experience and avoid worrying too much. While it's natural to want to make a positive impression and meticulously plan every detail, sometimes it's more rewarding to approach the opportunity with an open mind and authenticity.

Gateley is truly a firm that values individuals, so have confidence in your unique abilities and let your personality shine. Don't let stress hold you back – seize opportunities and maximise their potential. For instance, if you're interested in a specific area of law, ask questions, and engage in conversations with lawyers. I found that everyone was incredibly helpful and happy to share their knowledge and insights.

Do you have any advice about networking while on the vacation scheme?

Networking during the vacation scheme is crucial. There’ll be numerous networking opportunities throughout the scheme, so take advantage of them. Embrace the plentiful opportunities to engage with partners, trainees and other professionals. Approach with authenticity, express keen interest, and initiate conversations confidently.