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Vacation scheme insider

Marcus Köttering

Marcus Köttering


Summer 2019




University College London

What did you do while on the vacation scheme?

From the moment we’d completed our induction sessions, I had tasks coming into my inbox from colleagues across different practice areas of the firm. These included updating a daily tracker of a developing news story for one of Sullivan & Cromwell’s clients, researching disclosure requirements in the event of a change of share ownership in a company and conducting due diligence for an M&A deal, which involved identifying potential legal red flags that might affect the value of a prospective asset that a client was planning to purchase. I also reviewed a paper on developments in the energy market for publication.

Being given proper work from the outset gave me a flavour of what trainee life would be like. It became clear that responsibilities for producing work that would ultimately be seen by clients and which didn’t necessarily adhere to the strict boundaries of practice areas was an intrinsic part of the training experience at the firm.

On the social side, we were spoilt! We attended several lunches with current trainees and there was a trip to a rooftop bowling alley. At the end of the second week, the training principal took us out for dinner in the evening.

What did you feel that you gained from the placement?

The most valuable aspect of the scheme was meeting people who work in the office – lawyers and members of staff alike. Each task I was given was preceded by a briefing where I introduced myself before delving into the work at hand, which meant I had the chance to get to know several colleagues. It was also beneficial to meet members of the team in more social settings, such as at lunchtime or firm events, such as the Independence Day lunch on the roof terrace on 4 July, which, as an American firm, Sullivan & Cromwell was naturally obliged to celebrate.

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

The most enjoyable aspect of the scheme was the conversations with people from across the firm, which offered a good sense of the firm’s inclusive and collegial culture. I also received an invitation to play on the firm’s softball team, who compete against other law firms in a tournament in Regent’s Park, on my first day!

The most challenging part was taking in the new information and environment. It felt like the two weeks went by very quickly.

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

We were assessed throughout our time at the firm and at the end of the scheme there was an informal review with graduate recruitment and the training principal. I reflected on how I’d found the scheme and whether my time at the firm had affirmed my ambition to become a trainee. I found out that I had received a training contract offer shortly after.

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

Throw yourself at any opportunity you’re given – work or social. Be inquisitive about anything that might spark your curiosity. The friendliness of everyone I met made doing this so much easier during my time at Sullivan & Cromwell.