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Vacation scheme insider

Tessa Schrempf

Tessa Schrempf


June 2018


Austrian, European and International Law


University of Vienna

What did you do while on the scheme?

The scheme lasted two weeks. I spent the first week in the private client department and the second week with the litigation/arbitration team. In each area vacation schemers were assigned supervisors who gave us different types of work, assisting them with the cases they were working on at the time. I also worked with other people in the departments: undertaking research tasks, attending client meetings and taking notes on client calls. It was a good mix of work, great insight into the type of work Withers do, and really fun to help my future colleagues with their workload.

There were also two HR-led activities running in parallel during the scheme. We went on a trip to an Employment Tribunal followed by a team presentation about the visit afterwards. I had never been to an Employment Tribunal hearing and very much enjoyed seeing how it all works. We also worked on a mock inheritance case throughout the two weeks. This involved exercises such as mock client meetings and making written submissions, and culminated in a mediation with a senior associate posing as mediator.

There were plenty of opportunities to socialise and network too. We were given a buddy trainee for each week who were actively encouraged to show us around. We also had a lovely dinner with partners one night, and a networking reception at the end of the scheme. The networking-highlight was probably a wine-tasting evening with a professional sommelier, trainees and partner.

What did you feel that you gained from the placement?

I got a real understanding of the firm culture which I definitely wouldn’t have gained from looking at the website or speaking to a couple of people about the firm. I was able to fully soak in the atmosphere and the scheme showed me that Withers was a genuinely nice environment to work in. The people at Withers – clients and colleagues – are truly interesting and great to be around. I would never have known this without the vacation scheme.

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

Doing real work was simultaneously the most enjoyable and challenging aspect of the scheme. I wasn’t given made-up work just to be kept busy, but people really involved me in their everyday work lives. That was valuable and enjoyable because I felt that I could contribute and really help them. I also got a true insight into their work and clients. On the flipside, this was challenging because I had quite a high workload and I had to juggle several tasks at the same time, but it was extremely rewarding being given real responsibility.

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

After the vacation scheme I was invited to an assessment centre, which lasted half a day with a range of exercises including a partner interview, presentation and group exercises. I was offered a training contract afterwards.

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

Talk to as many people as possible and be the best version of yourself throughout.