University of Birmingham
What did you do while on the virtual vacation scheme?
The two-week vacation scheme was held in person, but RPC was very flexible and encouraged us to work remotely if necessary (for example, when there was a train strike).
I spent my first week in the commercial and banking litigation team, during which I was able to work on live matters. Examples of my tasks include carrying out legal research on a provision of the Companies Act 2006 for a partner and producing a court bundle for an upcoming hearing. During my second week, I sat with the construction team and assisted with the progression of an adjudication by preparing a documents list. This list ensured that we had all the necessary documents ready to be sent to the expert for the adjudication.
I also participated in several workshops and events which were on topics like diversity and inclusion, crypto and personal brand. I had the opportunity to meet people from across the firm through events such as speed networking, a partner Q&A session, a mini golf social and dinner with trainees.
What did you feel that you gained from the placement?
I gained a deeper and invaluable insight into the different teams at RPC, the work they do and the kind of clients they work for. I also got an understanding of the kind of tasks I’d be doing as a trainee. Finally, I was able to experience first-hand the people-centric culture of the firm. The placement enabled me to make an informed decision about whether I’d really be interested in the firm and whether we’d be a good fit in terms of personality, values and goals.
Which were the most enjoyable - and most challenging - aspects of the virtual scheme?
One of the most enjoyable moments was contributing towards the progression of live matters and getting to do actual trainee tasks. This was exciting because I could see the quality of work and learning that trainees get at RPC. Another enjoyable aspect was experiencing ‘Tech Week’ at the firm. During this week, there were various events with specialists from RPC's core client industries such as retail, insurance and tech and discussions on the impact of hot topics such as the metaverse and virtual reality are having on our client's businesses. There was a real buzz around the firm during this week and I was able to meet a range of people and ask many questions.
The most challenging aspect was striking a balance between producing quality work, networking and attending the events and workshops. For me, it was important not to take on too much work and to ensure that I finished my tasks on time and to a high standard. This meant I had time during the day to arrange meetings and chats with colleagues to get to know the firm even more.
Did the scheme end with a training contract interview or some other kind of further recruitment process?
Yes, we had an informal interview at the end of the second week.
Is there one key thing that you took away from the experience that you would pass on as advice to others?
Be confident in your abilities. Out of hundreds of applicants, you made it to the final stage of a very tough process. RPC wants to see your personality by bringing your whole self to work and how you’d work as a future lawyer at the firm, so just be yourself and be prepared to work hard.
Two weeks go by very quickly. It’s important to document and reflect on everything you have done, achieved and learnt each day to avoid playing catch-up before your final interview.