All the vacation scheme students were divided between the debt finance and corporate teams and I sat in corporate for the two weeks, sharing an office with my supervisor. I started off doing basic trainee tasks such as research, signature pages and helping with things like drafting flow charts and structure charts. We were given a trainee buddy who we could approach with any questions or problems that we had.
I sat in on client phone calls and partner meetings and was able to see the preparatory stages for a potential deal. We were also encouraged to seek work and take the initiative by talking to people in different practice groups, so I also did work for the arbitration, tax and funds teams and got to experience different clients and matters. It’s great that they got us involved in real work. Throughout the two weeks we also completed a mock transaction and had to negotiate a sponsorship agreement.
There were presentations from all the practice groups each day throughout the scheme and plenty of social events so we got to speak to many trainees, associates and partners.
I came out knowing exactly what was expected from me as a trainee and how the firm would support me in meeting their expectations. Talking to current trainees helped me understand the sort of tasks I would be doing and the general lifestyle of working at Kirkland & Ellis. They were refreshingly honest and didn’t sugar-coat the challenges and memorable moments.
It was important to see how approachable and welcoming everyone was. I remember having a long conversation with a senior lawyer who didn’t realise that I was a vacation scheme student and that really showed how willing everyone was to have a chat and how non-hierarchical the firm is. Diversity was really emphasised as a big part of the firm’s culture and it was clear that they make the firm as inclusive as possible.
There was a loan agreement exercise at the end of the scheme which was challenging because I had no previous experience of drafting. The mock transaction was also challenging because we had to deal with partners and associates pretending to be clients and making lots of sudden demands! Even though both were challenging, the lawyers made us feel as at ease as they possibly could and I enjoyed the opportunity to try this type of work.
I had two interviews, both with two partners. The first was focused on my CV and how I had found the scheme, and in the second we discussed my personal motivation and ambitions.
Don’t be afraid to explore as much as you can, really make the most of any vacation scheme and ask as many questions as possible. I knew the firm so well by the end of the vacation scheme that when I was made an offer I had no hesitation in accepting.