Abi Wood

  • When: Spring 2017
  • Subject: Law
  • University: University of Liverpool

What did you do while on the vacation scheme?

I spent the full week in the corporate team, where I experienced a good mix of real responsibility and shadowing. This included company searches, checking non-disclosure agreements and sitting in on conference calls. Vacation schemers were also set work by the graduate recruitment team – halfway through the week there was a mini-assignment and the scheme ended with each of us giving a 15-minute presentation to an audience of partners and members of HR. On a few different days we went out for lunch with trainees, while I was also able to attend a firm-wide party to celebrate moving into the firm’s new offices. In addition, I attended the firm’s end-of-year brief given by the chairman, Peter Duff, which gave me a great insight into the firm’s business strategy and its plans for the year ahead – this was also very helpful in my interview!

What did you feel that you gained from the placement?

By the end of the week, I felt that I had gained an insight into Shoosmiths’ values, from how clients are treated to the office culture. I had spent a week seeing what it would really be like to be a trainee at the firm. The scheme also helped me to improve key skills, for example, I was required to prioritise my tasks and maintain good communication with the lawyers assigning me tasks to give them realistic information about when the work would be completed.

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

Meeting people from across the firm, including many who had trained at Shoosmiths and others who had joined from other firms, was fantastic. The quality of work that a firm offers is very important, but so too is the culture if you’re planning to start a career there. The most challenging aspect was definitely the presentation at the end of the week. The experience was a good one, though, because I received valuable feedback and was able to have a great conversation about the firm based on that.

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

There was an informal chat about how I had found the week and I was then invited to the assessment centre later in the summer. The interview was part of the assessment centre and, like the end of the vacation scheme, also included a mini-presentation.

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

My advice would be to be confident – or at least not appear nervous. One piece of feedback I received was that I didn’t appear as confident throughout the week as I did in my presentation. Nerves are bound to be present on a vacation scheme, but try not to show them and just make sure that you immerse yourself into everything and speak to as many people as you can.

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