London School of Economics
What did you do while on the vacation scheme?
All vacation scheme attendees were placed in either the corporate team or debt finance team for the full two weeks. Both practice groups are mandatory seats on the training contract. However, right from the beginning of the scheme we were also encouraged to seek work from other teams – it was great to have the autonomy to go out and find work in departments which really interested me. I sat in the debt finance team, where I got involved in real work. For example, I completed a stock transfer form which was used in the transaction the team was working on, and although it was a small part of the documentation for the deal, it felt rewarding to contribute to the team effort. I was assigned a trainee buddy, and sat with an associate supervisor. They were fantastic in helping to navigate the scheme, both in terms of getting me involved in work and meetings whenever they could and encouraging me to work on tasks that I had been given from other teams. There were also various presentations, a mock transaction and social events - including a private cooking lesson and a boat trip on the Thames.
What did you feel that you gained from the placement?
I gained two important insights – the first was into the role of a trainee in practical terms. I quickly gained a sense of the types of work that trainees are involved in and how it fits into the bigger picture of the deal. The second thing I gained was an understanding of what is different about being a Kirkland lawyer. The firm is completely meritocratic. By the end of the scheme I felt that if you work hard, consistently produce high-quality work and enjoy working in small teams, there is no limit to where your career can go at Kirkland.
Which were the most enjoyable - and most challenging - aspects of the scheme?
Being able to engage in so many frank, honest discussions with people at the firm was hugely beneficial. Students sometimes feel apprehensive about asking certain things, but the firm prides itself on being completely transparent. I was made to feel at ease when talking to some of the City’s most respected lawyers. The mock transaction was the most challenging aspect – partners played the role of the client and asked the types of questions lawyers would normally be expected to answer, which really made us think commercially about solutions. As students, most of us probably hadn’t faced scenarios like that before so it was a great learning experience.
Did the scheme end with a training contract interview or some other kind of further recruitment process?
I had two interviews, each with two partners towards the end of the second week. Both were very organic conversations about my experiences, career motivations and time on the scheme.
Is there one key thing that you took away from the experience that you would pass on as advice to others?
Kirkland values an entrepreneurial spirit. Demonstrate this on the scheme by viewing it not only as a job interview but also an opportunity to deep dive into one of the world’s preeminent law firms. I think that this slight change in approach will help you get a lot more from the programme, and this enthusiasm will be recognised by the firm.