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Vacation scheme insider

Meghan Sugrue

Meghan Sugrue


April 2022




The University of Law

What did you do while on the vacation scheme?       

My vacation scheme at TLT LLP was in person for the whole week. I much preferred this to a hybrid approach as I could immerse myself within TLT’s culture and felt I could meet more people than I perhaps would’ve online.

The scheme consisted of various departmental talks, a group hackathon and work for the commercial team. I picked this team from a list before the scheme started, meaning I could tailor my experience to an area I was interested in. The work I did included reviewing contracts on and researching for live matters, preparing documents for internal use and some drafting. This range of tasks offered great exposure to trainee life, and I was grateful for the opportunity to contribute so heavily. My supervisor was welcoming and open to all my questions. I found it helpful that they went through review points from my work, which was a substantial opportunity for learning.

What did you feel that you gained from the placement?

I gained invaluable knowledge of how a large law firm operates – from chargeable time to a practical understanding of how it attends to client interests on a day-to-day basis. In undertaking tasks for my team, I learnt about the value-add I would have as a trainee solicitor and I felt confident that I’d be supported from the outset.

I also witnessed TLT’s culture, which I’d heard so much about. People were interested in my background, happy to answer all my questions, and my team was invested in ensuring I got the most out of the experience. At the vacation scheme social and the end-of-week team lunch, I experienced the lighter side of TLT and got to know my colleagues on a personal level. The overriding feeling was that I’d be cared for at TLT – it became clear that employee wellbeing is a priority.

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

The scheme’s most enjoyable aspect was, without a doubt, the people, which meant I left having widened my network. I returned to the firm as a paralegal after being offered a training contract and still bump into people I met on the scheme who ask me how I am and offer to get a coffee with me. This exemplifies why I enjoyed the scheme so much; I felt valued throughout and I’d been there for only five days!

Another highlight was the opportunity to meet John Wood, the firm’s managing partner, in person. I asked him questions and heard his views on the firm’s future, which highlighted that TLT’s values are upheld firm-wide and that it’s invested in its future lawyers.

The most challenging part was time management. It was important to time-block around meetings to ensure I could complete tangible work, work on the group hackathon and meet with people from different departments. My team was understanding and I didn’t feel any undue pressure during the scheme.

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

On the scheme’s penultimate day, I had a strengths-based training contract interview with two partners. This was the part of the scheme I was most nervous about; although by the time it came along, I was so comfortable in my team that it was significantly less daunting. Once I was in the room, a lot of those remaining nerves left because, while the questions were challenging, I’d had plenty of opportunities throughout the scheme to learn what I needed to answer them well.

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

Use the scheme to push yourself, meet people and ask questions – that way you’ll know by the end of the week whether the firm is right. On the scheme, I was frequently told that it works both ways; it’s an opportunity for you to impress the firm, however, it’s also your chance to determine whether you could see yourself there.