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Vacation scheme insider

Jane Xiu

Jane Xiu


June 2022




King's College London

What did a day on the vacation scheme look like?

Every day was slightly different, much like life as a trainee! We’d usually have a few timetabled events such as presentations from different practice areas, talks on pro bono opportunities, training sessions, opportunities to learn about Morrison Foerster’s (MoFo) various affinity groups, and of course, some fun social events. Outside of these activities, we were encouraged to organise our days according to our own workload and priorities.

While we sat in different practice areas for each week of the scheme, we were encouraged to seek out work from other departments, which provided us with great opportunities to experience a variety of client work. We were given a few assessed tasks to undertake, including one that stretched the length of the two-week scheme. It was therefore important to set aside time in our day to complete this task alongside any live client work. I was also encouraged to schedule informal chats with people from around the firm to learn more about life at MoFo and the work they undertake.

Which were the most enjoyable – and most challenging – aspects of the scheme?

The most enjoyable part of the scheme was being able to meet and get to know a huge range of people from around the firm, and the opportunity to experience real client work. It was really enjoyable to have honest and engaging conversations with those at the firm where I was able to learn so much about their time at MoFo and also their career journey as a lawyer. The real client work that I undertook, such as reviewing legal opinions or undertaking interesting legal research on Monegasque mortgages, were great opportunities to gain hands-on experience and I felt like I was making a valuable contribution to client work.

In contrast, the time management aspect was challenging. With all the opportunities available to us, it was important to make the most of the scheme but still ensure that any work undertaken was completed to a high standard.

What’s the most important thing you learnt about the firm while on the scheme?

One of the most important things I learnt was how much the firm values diversity, equity and inclusion, which is something that’s very important to me. We were able to hear from the various affinity groups the firm has, to learn about the ways that they foster cultural awareness and celebrate everyone's differences. Trainees are encouraged to get involved with these initiatives in the early stages of their career and I can feel that MoFo care about individuals and value their contributions on these topics.  

What key skills are required to have a successful experience on the vacation scheme?

Being able to throw yourself into the experience and get stuck into all sorts of work is important. You’ll need to be proactive in reaching out to those around the firm to set up chats over coffee and to seek out work from different departments.

You’ll often be taking on tasks for the first time. You take yourself outside of your comfort zone and have a willingness to engage in the new opportunities presented to you – for example, volunteering for different tasks that pop up is important to succeeding on the vacation scheme.

What’s one piece of advice you’d pass on to future vacation schemers?

First, keep a diary, and write down what sort of activities and jobs you do daily, who you meet and speak to and what you take away from those conversations. This is helpful when it comes to the end of scheme meeting with the recruitment team to remind yourself of the work you’ve undertaken.

Make the most of this opportunity and ask the questions you've always wanted to ask. Make sure you’re prepared with insightful questions and topics of conversation that you’re genuinely interested in finding more about. It’s a great opportunity to experience first-hand work and life in a top law firm.

It’s so important to proactively seek out opportunities that you’re genuinely curious about, instead of doing things just because you think that's what's expected of you, and to connect with others on a personal level too. Finally, don't forget to be yourself and have fun!