As a non-law student, Jennie wanted to complete a placement where she felt her history degree would be utilised, and she wouldn’t feel out of the legal-loop. She shares her experience of a one-week placement at law firm Shoosmiths.
https://twitter.com/ShoosmithsMy main priority when choosing a law firm to complete a vacation scheme with and to start my career, was atmosphere. I wanted to experience a firm which respected a work-life balance, and which had a working lifestyle that encouraged women and mothers to reach their career potential as much as it did for men and fathers. I wanted a top UK firm with high profile cases and clients that remained down-to-earth.
From my summer placement, I know that Shoosmiths matched this profile.
I was initially attracted to Shoosmiths through their reputation, including the number of female partners and numerous awards as best employer, to the high-profile work they completed. Having spoken to trainees from the firm at my university law fair, I was impressed with the friendly manner of Shoosmiths’ representatives in comparison to some other firms I had encountered.
My first day of the placement was spent getting to know my trainee host, Hannah, and another placement candidate. After introductions and health and safety, I spent the day organising the week ahead. One of the best things about the placement was that I was given a lot of independence: it was up to me to manage my time and take initiative, although there were always people to ask for help. I stayed organised by jotting down initial ideas for the assignment and project set by the graduate recruitment team which would complement the real legal work I would be doing in the team. I was also asked to complete some research for a current case my team was working on. Completing work that was both useful to the team and very different to anything I had previously encountered was highly rewarding.
Tuesday and Wednesday were spent completing the assignment, which was due in on Wednesday, as well as creating more ideas for my project. During this time, I also undertook further research for the team. Whilst it was initially daunting juggling these projects and the research, it was highly enjoyable balancing my time and working to a deadline. This included booking my own room for my project presentation and making sure the right people were able to attend. I also received one-to-one feedback for the research I’d completed. The fact that the team dedicated the time to support me and provide helpful feedback meant that I didn’t feel like I was a burden, and that my work was valued.
I spent most lunchtimes at “pigeon park”, but Wednesday lunchtime was spent getting to know some of the other trainees during a meal at a local restaurant. It was really interesting seeing the different routes trainees had taken getting into law, and their friendliness further emulated the down-to-earth environment at the firm. Getting a free bottle of “birthday” prosecco at the restaurant for us to enjoy was a further bonus!
From Thursday to Friday I predominantly spent my time finalising my project, although I managed to squeeze in a few more pieces of research for the team too. On Thursday evening, I accompanied Hannah and some other Shoosmiths’ employees to a ‘Women in Business’ event about the Commonwealth Games. This tied in well with my project, which was about sport, and was a great opportunity to network with other professionals. It was also highly interesting getting an inside view into the creation of the Games.
After my presentation on Friday, I joined a senior associate for a catch-up about the week over ice cream. This is another example of the type of people who work at the firm – friendly and thoughtful, who genuinely want you to do well.
I was really sad to leave my placement on the Friday. I had been looked after so well by all members of staff, and I really felt part of the team. Hannah had made me feel very welcome and gave me some fantastic advice throughout the week. I learnt so much from this placement, from legal knowledge to research tips, but most importantly I learnt that Shoosmiths is the firm I want to have a career with.
I would strongly recommend the Shoosmiths’ summer placement to anyone interested in law!
If you're applying for legal work experience, you may also be interested in reading "Awesome Application Advice” by Kiran Chatha or watching our latest #ShoosmithsLIVE video.
The deadline to apply for a summer vacation placement is 28th February each year. Click here to apply.
If you have any specific questions, you can contact the graduate recruitment team via twitter or email.
Read more posts with advice about summer vacation placements on the Shoosmiths careers blog.