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- When: Summer 2017
- Subject: French and German
- University: University of Oxford
What did you do while on the vacation scheme?
I was in the litigation department for the entirety of the two weeks, which enabled me to get to know the members of the team and be more involved with the team’s work. The team had been working on a big case for weeks and I was lucky to start my placement when the case was being heard in court, so on several occasions I was able to accompany the trainees to watch it unfold, as well as assist with the preparation of documents. Outside of this, I was assigned various research tasks by my supervisor, an associate, as well as by partners in the department. My fellow vac schemers and I were also introduced to the firm’s different departments in a series of lunchtime workshops. There was another workshop – this time led by trainees – about the opportunity to go on international secondment which is a guaranteed part of the training contract. In addition, we were tasked with a group research project which we had to coordinate in between everything else we were doing, which culminated in giving a presentation at the end of the two weeks. The scheme also included social activities, including a fun cocktail making class, an evening meal out and a farewell lunch on the last day.
What did you feel that you gained from the placement?
I gained a valuable insight into the culture of the firm. Spending the whole placement with the same team meant that I was able to get to know the people I was sitting with and learn what litigation lawyers do. The opportunity to attend court also helped me to appreciate the reality of the matters I was working on and the wider importance that they have. It was great to be able to bond with the other vac schemers, which was helped by the fact that we were part of a small group – the firm runs several schemes rather than having everyone attend one big placement. This also enabled each of us to fully integrate into the firm.
Which were the most enjoyable - and most challenging - aspects of the scheme?
I really enjoyed getting to know the trainees, who were all on hand to answer questions. I was paired with a trainee buddy who showed me around, which I really appreciated. Being able to interact with current trainees enabled me to gain a realistic sense of what life as a trainee at the firm would be like. The most challenging aspect was juggling the various priorities and making sure that I had time to finish everything.
Did the scheme end with a training contract interview or some other kind of further recruitment process?
During the last week of the scheme I was interviewed by a partner and a member of the graduate recruitment team. Although the interview was formal, I felt comfortable and relatively at ease by that point, as I had gotten to know quite a few people over the two weeks, including the recruiters. I quite enjoyed it, which is not something I would say about any other interview I have had!
Is there one key thing that you took away from the experience that you would pass on as advice to others?
Talk to people and get involved as much as you can – say yes to tasks and ask people if they have any work that you could do. Getting to know people and immersing myself in the work really helped me to work out whether the firm would be a good fit for me, as well as the recruiters and partners tasked with deciding whether I would be a good fit for them.
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