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Vacation scheme insider

Holly Mackay

Holly Mackay


Summer 2019


Philosophy, politics and economics


University of Oxford

What did you do while on the scheme?

I sat with the business finance & restructuring (BFR) and research teams during my two weeks at the firm. I got to work on live matters which was really useful to experience. For example, in the BFR department I worked on a security document that was going back and forth with the client that week. I also assisted with a couple of research tasks and prepared reports for lawyers on an issue within a contract that needed clarifying. Throughout the two weeks there were presentations on the different areas within the firm and that meant we could ask questions about the departments we weren’t sitting in. There were also three assessments – a negotiation exercise, a pitch project and a partner interview – spaced out during the scheme. Plus, there were plenty of social activities to get involved in, including drinks on the roof terrace and being taken to see Cirque du Soleil at the O2!

What did you feel that you gained from the placement?

Coming out of the placement, I felt like I really understood the firm. The presentations were particularly helpful because they gave me an insight into how the different practice areas fit together and collaborate on different deals. Because I was given real work from real deals, I got a good appreciation of what trainees do and how the processes work. The firm didn’t sugar coat the work either – I did everything form taking copies of original signature pages to helping on an important security document with a trainee, so it was a realistic insight into the work of a lawyer.

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

I really enjoyed the negotiation exercise as I hadn’t done that sort of activity before. It was fun to represent different parties and hash it out! The most challenging part of the scheme was the pitch project because I was unfamiliar with many of the details and had to spend a lot of time doing research for the task. But everyone was very supportive of each other in our team and we did well in the end. It was a challenge, but I enjoyed it.

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

We were assessed by the negotiation exercise, pitch project and partner interview throughout the scheme alongside feedback from the people we sat with. I was offered a training contract at the end of the scheme.

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

As a non-law student, I had the impression that I would be on the back foot during the vacation scheme, but that was definitely not the case. I’d recommend for other non-law students to go into these schemes being confident and commercially aware. You’re not expected to have a deep legal knowledge, just an awareness of what’s going in the news. Everyone at Weil was very happy to chat to me, explain their work and answer my questions.