King’s College London
What did you do while on the vacation scheme?
The winter vacation scheme at Hogan Lovells is a two-week programme. In the first week I sat in the commercial team and undertook due diligence checks, and drafted a memo for a client based on articles of association for a company.
In the second week I sat in the real estate team and was given a contract for a current matter, where I had to understand the different parties’ positions on a piece of land, and then identify the different interests at play and who had the overriding interest.
Both seats provided a great overview of the firm’s work and we worked on real, live matters, which was an excellent experience. Alongside this, we had various workshops, including one on advocacy skills where we were asked to advocate as well as some case study workshops. There were panels on diversity and talks with Paralympians, as the firm is a Gold Partner to the British Paralympic Association.
We were also put into groups in the first week and given a brief outline from which to plan a presentation to partners for the end of the second week.
What did you feel that you gained from the placement?
Insights into the firm that I don’t think you can get without working among current employees.
I also gained confidence that I was going down the right career path. I felt like I fitted in at Hogan Lovells. I got on with the other students, my supervisors and trainee solicitors – they were all genuinely friendly and my work was recognised. I was well supported, which solidified that it was the right place for me and law was the right career choice.
Which were the most enjoyable - and most challenging - aspects of the scheme?
I enjoyed all aspects of the scheme. It was an incredibly well-prepared programme and there was never a dull moment because we always had something to do.
On the flip side, it was very busy. This was because the winter vacation scheme is two weeks long compared to the three-week summer vacation scheme and is the exact same programme. This meant that you had to manage your time efficiently.
Did the scheme end with a training contract interview or some other kind of further recruitment process?
On the Thursday of the last week we had an hour-long training contract interview with two partners. We discussed what we had done and learnt, the people we had spoken to and whether we had enjoyed ourselves. I was offered a training contract the following week.
Is there one key thing that you took away from the experience that you would pass on as advice to others?
It’s important to not compare yourself to the other students. As a vacation schemer, you can develop a mentality that you must stay the latest and do the absolute most. However, I found this to not be the case – of course, say yes to every opportunity that you can but be conscious of managing your time well and not putting too much on your plate. You want to be able to deliver a high standard of work.
The firm holds in high regard your personality and how genuine a person you are. It is a chance to see whether the firm is a suitable fit for yourself, as well as the other way around.