Royal Holloway, University of London
What did you do while on the vacation scheme?
Mills & Reeve’s vacation scheme was similar to a mini training contract. I sat in four seats: regulatory, public and commercial disputes, commercial IP and IT, private client and banking. I reviewed contracts, conducted research, attended meetings and even created the first draft of a letter of advice so I gained insight into the different types of client and work within each department. Despite how busy the supervisors were, they always took the time to explain the work and the client’s aims.
On the first day we were introduced to business support staff, attended training sessions and were given an office tour. We also received our seat assignments and were allocated a buddy who was a current trainee. At the start of each seat rotation, our buddy introduced us to the new team in which we would be working. They also attended social events with us and were available to answer our questions during the two weeks.
What did you feel that you gained from the placement?
You feel like a trainee from the first day. The opportunity to experience four different departments and to attend departmental meetings helped me to better understand Mills & Reeve’s culture and values, providing a more holistic view of the firm.
We also had an interactive session with some newly qualified (NQ) lawyers who shared their experiences and discussed the transition from trainee to NQ. The scheme didn’t just provide a forecast of what the next two years would be like, but life beyond that.
Which were the most enjoyable - and most challenging - aspects of the scheme?
In the first week I reviewed a sponsorship agreement and made amendments which I discussed with my supervisor. Later that day, I saw that my amendments had been incorporated. It was a big transaction that was later reported in the news so it was rewarding to have contributed.
A supervisor also asked whether I would be interested in attending an inquest so I ended up going to a coroner’s court in a different city. The experience made me feel more like a trainee than a vac schemer.
The most challenging aspect was working through tasks in unfamiliar areas of law. I was keen to produce good quality work but at the same time, many things were new to me. There are nuances between the study and practice of law with many aspects you can only truly learn in practice.
Did the scheme end with a training contract interview or some other kind of further recruitment process?
On the last day we had an informal discussion with a member of the graduate recruitment team. I received feedback from my four supervisors and gave feedback about my own experience before we spoke about the training contract. We were assessed throughout the scheme so there were no further interviews or assessments and I received my offer a few weeks later.
Is there one key thing that you took away from the experience that you would pass on as advice to others?
Mills & Reeve has many notable lawyers so speak to people and learn about their journey into law – be sociable, ask questions and work as a team with other vac schemers. This will allow you to make the most of the experience socially and professionally.