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Vacation scheme insider

Eleanor Chafer

Eleanor Chafer


Summer 2018




University of Oxford

What did you do while on the vacation scheme?

The scheme mixed working in various practice areas with social events designed to help you get to know people across the firm. I experienced real work at the firm, taking responsibility for a due diligence task and also giving a mini-presentation to the tax team at one of its team breakfasts. Social events included an evening at the Globe theatre and a table tennis night, and we were also invited to the firm’s 4 July party.  

What did you feel that you gained from the placement?

I gained a greater understanding of how the firm operated along US lines compared to the UK firms in London and their bigger offices, and a clear idea of what life as a trainee at Sullivan & Cromwell would be like.

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

I most enjoyed the social events, which enabled me to meet people from across the firm and put me at ease because everyone was friendly and relaxed. The most challenging aspect was taking on what I had never done before. For example, the due diligence task I performed was completely new to me. The support available really helped me to learn, though – each person on the scheme was assigned a trainee mentor as well as a secretary to work with, and the guidance I received from both was invaluable.

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

I had a discussion with two partners at the end of the scheme, where we talked about how I had found the experience and my plans for the future, but there was no grilling of the kind you sometimes hear about at job interviews. I was offered a training contract around a week after the scheme ended and was very happy to accept.

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

Make sure you enjoy the experience and put yourself out there as much as possible by talking to people and asking questions.