Reed Smith

Reed Smith

Alice Powell

  • When: Summer 2016
  • Subject: European studies and French
  • University: King’s College London

What did you do while on the vacation scheme (eg, type of work, networking, presentations or social events)?

I experienced two different seats over the course of the two weeks. I spent the first week with the energy and natural resources team, and the second week with the shipping team. The scheme involved a mix of real work and learning. I drafted emails, sat in on meetings and listened in on conference calls; I also attended useful workshops on presenting and negotiating. Vac schemers also took part in a mock employment tribunal, in which we split into two teams and argued the case in front of a former judge, which was so much fun! Finally, there were plenty of opportunities to socialise throughout the two weeks, with welcome drinks and other socials. I felt that I gained a strong overview of the firm – I met a variety of people and really developed an understanding of the work the firm does.

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)?

I gained a good appreciation of what a law firm does in terms of day-to-day work and how different departments interact. Perhaps the main benefit of the scheme was the opportunity I was given to see what working at the firm is really like and whether I would fit in. The scheme really immersed me into life at the firm and made me feel included and part of everything that was going on.

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

I enjoyed meeting all the people at the firm and made the most of all the social opportunities – I even joined the netball team for the two weeks that I was on the scheme. I also loved all the activities and opportunities that were provided, including the mock employment tribunal. It all ensured that even if I didn’t secure a training contract, I would still come away with a really valuable experience that would stand me in good stead for the future.

Getting my head around all the legal concepts which were quite new to me was certainly challenging, but everyone was so supportive and always had time to explain things, so help was always available if I needed it.

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

Yes, the fourth day of the second week was focused on our assessment – half of us went in the morning and the others went in the afternoon. The assessments involved a previously unseen exercise, an interview and a group exercise. The firm was very prompt in providing feedback – we all heard back within a few days.

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

If you secure a place on a vacation scheme, the firm will already know that you are intelligent , having seen your academic achievements already. Doing well on a vacation scheme is therefore not so much about proving that you are clever, but showing that you are hardworking, reliable and someone with whom others want to work. If you want to be there, show it by joining in and taking all the opportunities that arise.

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