Austrian, European and International Law
University of Vienna
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.
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.
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.
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.
Talk to as many people as possible and be the best version of yourself throughout.