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Vacation scheme insider

Nafeesa Deen

Nafeesa Deen

When

Summer 2020

Subject

Law and business

University

University of Warwick

What did you do while on the vacation scheme?

I completed tasks for the employment and finance teams. These gave a good indication of the work a trainee might do, from research to due diligence. We also had a long research task for the restructuring and insolvency team. The firm organised workshops to give insights into good resources, how to devise a research strategy, and common mistakes to avoid – it was a valuable opportunity to learn essential skills for trainees.

Before the scheme, we were put into small groups and assigned different departments to lead a Q&A with. I particularly enjoyed leading the Q&A with the equity derivatives team, as it was a practice group I was less familiar with. The team explained concepts fantastically and by the end of the Q&A, I felt like I understood the work they did and what derivatives were.

There were also presentations about mental health, pro bono, and diversity. I was pleasantly surprised that the mental health presentation included candid and open conversations about different employees’ experiences – this marked a supportive work environment that I was keen to be a part of.

What did you feel that you gained from the placement (eg, insight into the firm, useful contacts, or an appreciation of a trainee’s workload)?

The practice group introductions highlighted the work happening in each area and the commercial issues impacting each group. I enjoyed meeting the finance team and discussing how green finance is becoming an emerging theme in their work. The corporate M&A department was also celebrated by several trainees I spoke to for the wealth of knowledge they gained and exciting work they were involved in during their seat.

I was surprised by how many people we met on the scheme, and how willing people were to answer questions. Moreover, discussions about business development emphasised how juniors were encouraged to think about career development and business strategy early.

At the end of the week, I had a solid understanding of the work I may do as a MoFo trainee.

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

I enjoyed organising virtual coffees and gaining one-to-one insights. Everyone was approachable and willing to give their time. The managing partner of Europe, Paul Friedman, had read our CVs and took the time to meet us and ask personal questions about our experiences. I was excited to learn from lawyers at the top of their field!

The most challenging aspect was the long research task because I had never come across the documentation before, and many of the concepts were new to me. We discussed any preliminary confusions and received training to assist with our structure and sourcing suitable resources, so I felt continuously supported and equipped with the necessary skills to complete the task.

Did the scheme end with a training contract interview or some other kind of further recruitment process?

We were assessed on our engagement and technical capabilities throughout the scheme. We had an informal exit meeting with graduate recruitment at the end of the week where we talked about our experiences, what we enjoyed and what we had learnt. I was offered a training contract 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?

When we received advice for the assessed tasks, it focused on the need to write simply and keep a clear structure. Imagine that you are sending your work to a busy lawyer who may have only a short period to read your report before going to a client meeting. You could make your work more digestible with an executive summary, bullet points and tables.