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Vacation scheme insider

Andy Holt

Andy Holt


June 2019


French & Spanish


University of Manchester

What did you do while on the vacation scheme?

I completed my two-week vacation scheme in Osborne Clarke’s (OC) London office. The placement involved a programme of talks, networking sessions and the opportunity to experience work in two different departments. I submitted my preferred departments before the scheme started and was allocated seats in the IP disputes and commercial teams.

In the IP disputes team, I was involved in a patent-based research task at the British Library. I also reviewed some trademark registers to single out trademarks which would potentially infringe the client brand's trademark.  

In the commercial team, I assisted a trainee with the analysis of a set of commercial contracts. I drafted advertising and marketing law articles and reviewed a promotional video of a large media organisation from a regulatory perspective.

There was also an opportunity to find out about the wider firm through insight talks and networking lunches. One session that I found fascinating was a talk on disruptive technology delivered by the firm’s digital transformation knowledge lawyer. The trainees also arranged social events, including an evening at a video-game-themed bar.  

What did you feel that you gained from the placement?

I received a good flavour of the work within both teams, and completed work that I would be involved in if I were to join the firm as a trainee.

I also experienced first-hand the firm’s open, friendly and inclusive culture. I was asked to look at the firm's diversity and inclusion (D&I) paper by one of my supervisors (who is a diversity champion), and was encouraged to put forward LGBTQ+ initiatives that I was aware of that may be of interest to OC and its D&I programme.  

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

I enjoyed the group assessment. We were placed into teams of four to develop a technology-based solution for one of the firm’s clients. After an initial pitch, my team was chosen to present our ideas via telephone conference directly to the client, which was a fantastic experience. The client asked us questions, provided feedback on what they liked and highlighted areas for improvement.

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

On the last day we had an interview with two partners, which was an informal conversation about the scheme and the work that I had undertaken. I was asked specific questions about my work – being able to recall and discuss details is an important skill for aspiring lawyers to demonstrate.

I received my training contract offer once all of the placements had been completed.

Is there one key thing that you took away from the experience that you would pass on as advice to others?

Candidates should approach the scheme as though it were an interview. Take every piece of work and assessment as an opportunity to demonstrate your capabilities – show that you’re prepared, do your research, demonstrate a keen eye for detail and an interest in the commercial issues, while collaborating effectively with other lawyers and fellow candidates. It is also important to maintain a good energy level, as it can be quite tiring!