University of Bristol
What did you do while on the vacation scheme? Was it virtual or in person?
During the two-week, virtual scheme we spent one week in a department that we had selected previously; I was in commercial disputes and construction.
In each department our supervisors and trainee buddies got us involved with ongoing department work and we had opportunities to attend client meetings! All vacation schemers were also assigned a corporate task.
What did you feel that you gained from the placement?
I walked away with a clear idea of what life as a trainee at Osborne Clarke was like. The vacation scheme is well structured because, while you get a healthy amount of work and responsibility, there's enough time to attend talks and learn about the firm's culture. I appreciated the firm's approach to wellbeing; our vacation scheme schedules had ringfenced break times and we had virtual yoga sessions!
I also enjoyed learning about the firm's 3D strategy and how key the transformation drivers are to differentiating the firm from the market. It was incredibly eye-opening to listen Catherine Hammon talk about digital transformation and how technological innovation impacts Osborne Clarke’s advice to clients These talks convinced me that the firm's decision to base client advice around the 3D strategy and the transformation drivers can only be described as ‘future proof’. It allows a form of horizon scanning that keeps the firm agile and ahead of the market.
The talk on career progression at the firm also demonstrated a culture of transparency and clarity.
Which were the most enjoyable – and most challenging – aspects of the scheme?
The most enjoyable part was working on live matters. I enjoyed my two seats and it was exciting to come out of a client meeting and be given a piece of work relating to what we had just discussed. We also received regular feedback and had frequent catch-ups with our buddies to make sure we knew what we were doing. The firm’s partners were also so personable and approachable. The firm made it clear that we could book meetings with the partners, offering a level of support and involvement from the firm's leadership that made me feel at home.
The most challenging aspect was completing it virtually because I found it difficult to build the same level of rapport that one might build in person. I was also doing the scheme from Dubai so was four hours ahead of the UK, making it difficult at times to attend socials.
Did the scheme end with a training contract interview or some other kind of further recruitment process?
At the end of the vacation scheme we had an interview with a partner and senior member of the HR team.
Is there one key thing that you took away from the experience that you would pass on as advice to others?
My first piece of advice is to keep a daily log. Write down what you worked on, for who, what you learnt and how you felt, for example. This will be helpful in the run-up to your interview as it reminds you of the work you completed on the scheme.
Secondly, make the most of the experience! I think it's easy to slip into a mindset where you are too focused on securing the training contract (and understandably so!) but it's also important to appreciate the value of your opportunity. A vacation scheme provides an intimate look into the workings of a law firm and this is your chance to understand the industry. Be enthusiastic, curious and attentive to detail – these traits are key.