Law and French
University of Sussex
What did you do while on the vacation scheme?
Due to covid-19, the vacation scheme took place virtually over one week. I found this to be beneficial as, instead of selecting the departments you worked in, all vac schemers were given the same tasks from a variety of different seats. This meant we were offered a flavour of the work you might typically receive as a trainee. We were partnered with a trainee buddy and associate who provided guidance and support as well as a five-minute chat every morning over coffee.
What did you learn about the firm while on the placement?
The placement was the perfect environment to learn more about the nature of the work and culture at Mayer Brown. We were kept occupied throughout the day with welcome talks, seminars, skills sessions, tasks and social events. I left the scheme feeling that I’d not only improved my skillset, but also wanting to continue working on the projects and tasks from the week.
I was struck by how kind and generous everyone at Mayer Brown was (including the more senior partners), particularly in offering their time. The networking opportunities were advantageous as you could arrange meetings with lawyers after an interesting discussion, or if you wanted to learn more about a specific department or topic.
Which were the most enjoyable - and most challenging - aspects of the scheme?
Several of the tasks were both enjoyable and challenging. For example, one of the tasks was about responding to a fictional client on anti-bribery and corruption concerns of a particular transaction. The legal research element of this work was captivating, although the time constraints were a challenge!
Another task was drafting a letter to another fictional client regarding their disclosure objectives under the Disclosure Pilot Scheme. Again, this was enjoyable because it felt like a genuine trainee-level task.
The social events were also terrific! I enjoyed the virtual murder mystery which consisted of cocktails and pizza. At another event, we used Kumospace to ‘walk around’ a virtual workspace, networking and attending practice area seminars. For metaverse enthusiasts, this was particularly enjoyable as we got to experience some of the cutting-edge technology the firm has at its disposal.
Did the scheme end with a training contract interview or some other kind of further recruitment process?
The scheme ended with a 20-minute interview with a partner and the head of graduate recruitment. There were no nasty trick questions and it was a completely transparent process.
Is there one key thing that you took away from the experience that you would pass on as advice to others?
I’d recommend networking with as many people as possible. Because the scheme was virtual, it meant you needed to make every minute count. The discussions I had demonstrated that everyone at Mayer Brown has their own unique story and route into the firm. There were trainees who had recently graduated as well as career changers or those starting a family. The variety of people and perspectives is something I really appreciated and it reaffirmed my desire to work at Mayer Brown.
My advice for future vac schemers is to smile and stay positive throughout the scheme! Try to enjoy the week, even if you’re unsuccessful in gaining a training contract. There’s so much on offer that you’ll definitely be able to take something away from the experience.