University of Sheffield
Which were the most enjoyable – and most challenging – aspects of the scheme?
One of the most enjoyable aspects of the Walker Morris LLP vacation scheme was the group negotiation task, which we completed a few days into the scheme. This meant we’d had time to get to know the other vac schemers before we got started, making it feel more like a team experience. Having completed negotiations in the past during my university degree, I thought it’d be a straightforward task. However, that was not the case; it included speaking to our ‘client’ directly, rather than merely receiving a sheet of information, which challenged us to use skills different to those of a simple negotiation. The experience was made to feel realistic and challenging because we had to engage in and discussing the situation with our client before condensing the relevant information to create structure and focus to our negotiation. I also enjoyed working alongside other vacation schemers with a clear goal in sight, as we came to a fair and successful deal for the client.
Was the vacation scheme what you expected? Did the vacation scheme live up to your expectations?
The vacation scheme contained elements that I expected while simultaneously exceeding my expectations. The work tasks in our departments were challenging and varied, which I’d expected from a firm that deals with complex cases. However, the firm’s open and welcoming culture surprised me – from the scheme, it was evident that those who worked at Walker Morris had a genuine interest in speaking to and interacting with the vac schemers. It was so valuable to hear from the fee earners who took time out of their day to discuss their journeys into law, life at Walker Morris and their advice for aspiring solicitors.
Did your attendance on the scheme support your application for a training contract?
Attending the vacation scheme undoubtedly supported my training contract application as I could demonstrate exactly what I had to offer Walker Morris, and how the firm and its culture would suit me. Prior to applying to Walker Morris, I’d researched several aspects of the firm, including its clients, values and individual schemes, but taking part in the vacation scheme allowed me to experience these elements first hand. So, the firm’s culture and the work it undertakes became something I’d experienced rather than simply read about. Following the scheme I was invited back for a final partner interview before I was offered a training contract.
What key skills are required to have a successful experience on the vacation scheme?
Excellent communication and interpersonal skills are fundamental to having a successful vacation scheme at Walker Morris and ensuring you get the most out of the opportunity. On the first day after our induction we attended a sociable lunch where many people in the firm joined us for food, and then on the third day there was a social in the evening with food and drinks. Trainees, solicitors and partners attended both socials, demonstrating how important socialising and building relationships within the firm are. These experiences helped to develop my interpersonal skills as I engaged and networked with new people, and learnt about their backgrounds and experiences.
Do you have any advice about networking while on the vacation scheme?
Networking can sometimes be a daunting experience but I can’t recommend it enough – it’s such an important part of the scheme. During my vacation scheme, I reached out to several individuals who were either trainees or experienced solicitors practising in areas of the law I had an interest in. Following the scheme, I’d advise other vac schemers to try to maintain any relationships that have been built while on the vacation scheme. For example, I kept in contact with a couple of the trainees I met at Walker Morris and met one of them for coffee the morning of my training contract interview. For me, this calmed my nerves for the interview while also confirming that Walker Morris was the firm I wanted to train at – I felt incredibly supported and encouraged by the trainees I’d kept in contact with.