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Vacation scheme insider

Rahul Mittal

Rahul Mittal


April 2019




Durham University

What did you do while on the scheme?

I spent the first week with the real estate team and the second in commercial litigation, which really allowed me to see the differences between a transactional and contentious seat. I was fortunate to assist in a range of live cases and completed tasks such as drafting letters, bundling and conducting legal research. We were encouraged to introduce ourselves to other partners and associates to seek additional work from different teams. I was able to take just as much from meeting these people and talking to them about their career experiences, as I did from the actual work itself.

Additionally, we sat in on commercial talks and met with the firm’s chief executive, who provided an insight into the Stephenson Harwood’s future and how it’s looking to maintain its competitive advantage in the marketplace. A particular highlight was a group skills workshop, where we got to know each other better and tested ourselves in a range of exercises, including a negotiation task.

Beyond the work, there were networking lunches and drinks with the current trainees, where we could speak to them about their experiences of university, the LPC and the firm.

What did you feel that you gained from the placement?

I got a real insight into how life would be at Stephenson Harwood. One thing that struck me was how welcoming everyone was and how we felt integrated within the firm from day one. By working closely with trainees and supervisors, we could better understand how the firm operates and what kind of work it engages in. Most importantly, I got a real appreciation for the firm’s values.

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

I most enjoyed the talks we were given about the firm’s practice areas. All the speakers were extremely passionate about their practice and wanted to inspire and share that with us. It was also rewarding to assist with cases that the firm was working on, meaning that I could see how the concepts I had learnt about at university were applied in practice. Most challenging was trying to juggle all the opportunities I was given. On one day I was invited to sit in a court hearing which meant that I was then behind on a task given by my supervisor. In that respect, the full-on nature of the scheme was a perfect induction into working life.

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

There was an assessment day in the second week, which included a 10-minute presentation on a topic we had been allocated prior to the scheme. We were then interviewed by a partner and member of HR, which was followed by a case study exercise. I found out the next week that I had a training contract.

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

Get involved with everything you can. In our introductory speech we were told to make the scheme our own and that really stuck with me. Don’t be afraid to approach people and ask if you can help with their work.