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- When: July 2018
- Subject: Human, social and political sciences
- University: University of Cambridge
What did you do while on the scheme?
From the outset, my fellow vacation scheme student and I were encouraged to be entrepreneurial and source work from associates and partners around the office alongside work for our separate associate supervisors. The tasks I completed were varied, from quick and simple jobs to more time-consuming research problems. The non-rotational format of the vacation scheme mirrors that of the training contract, enabling vacation scheme students to a get an idea of the training contract structure and a valuable hands-on insight into different legal practice areas.
One of the most rewarding aspects of the scheme was thinking about legal problems in a commercial context because the vast majority of the work I did was based on the real legal issues facing clients. Indeed, one particularly memorable task during my time in the office involved researching and writing up a report for an associate on a live matter concerning insolvency law. Although complex, the task was very rewarding as I had not encountered this area of law before.
The office was very sociable and numerous lunches with associates provided a great opportunity to get to know people in the firm. There were social events throughout the week including coffee in the Sky Garden (with amazing views across London) and leaving drinks on the final day of the scheme.
What did you feel that you gained from the placement?
Since the vast majority of my work was independently sourced and based on real legal matters, the vacation scheme felt as realistic as possible in terms of the daily work of a trainee. Taking on tasks with greater responsibility was rewarding and I felt my contributions were genuinely appreciated. I made an effort to get to know various associates and partners around the office to learn more about their practice areas and the evolving the oil and gas sector, and the challenges it faces in the future.
Which were the most enjoyable – and most challenging – aspects of the scheme?
I enjoyed the high levels of responsibility I was given, the opportunity to work on real legal problems facing clients and the chance to learn about new areas of law in a commercial context. The non-rotational aspect of the scheme meant that the most challenging aspect was working to tight, competing deadlines on a number of tasks from different departments.
Did the scheme end with a training contract interview or some other kind of further recruitment process?
On Thursday there was an ‘exit interview’ where vacation scheme students separately researched and presented a written report on a gas sector problem scenario to a panel of partners and associates. I was offered a training contract the next day.
Is there one key thing that you took away from the experience that you would pass on as advice to others?
Be confident and take on as much responsibility as you can manage in order to get the most out of the vacation scheme. Everyone is very friendly, so be sure to introduce yourself around the office and most importantly, ask questions! It’s a great opportunity to get a true insight into an international commercial law firm.
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