supplemented with other activities, for example, a mock client pitch or presentation, or a project you have to work on over the course of the placement. Work placement schemes are usually rotational, in that you’ll probably spend your two weeks in two to four different departments. During that time, you’re likely to be engaged in a variety of tasks. Interns at corporate US firm Skadden, for example, are asked to do background reading into specific legal practices, attend training presentations and even participate in conference calls or meetings with lawyers from other firms. Summer is the main placement season, but many firms also run schemes during the winter and spring. Firms that try to separate out non-law students may organise a dedicated non-law scheme during the winter holiday period. This ensures that all prospective trainees are on an equal playing field. The majority of application deadlines for summer and spring schemes tend to be between the end of January and the end of February, with many firms also sharing a deadline at the end of March, but it’s best to apply early. If you’re a non-lawyer, you’ll need to apply by the end of October for most winter schemes. Work placement: case study Natasha Twumasi says of her 2019 work placement at Linklaters: “I sat in the dispute resolution department during the two weeks and was given the opportunity to conduct research on court procedures and attend client meetings, as well as a department seminar. For one task, I looked at case law and contract law to see the ways in which the defendant could seek damages. We were also given a due diligence project to complete over the two weeks, which
To secure a training contract/pupillage, you need relevant work experience.
A fantastic academic record is not enough to satisfy recruiters in the legal profession. They also want to know that you can represent the firm to clients and work well with colleagues. Equally, recruiters want to see that you have made an informed decision about becoming a solicitor or barrister. An ideal start to your career is to get a place on a work placement scheme/mini- pupillage. These placements are the perfect foot in the door of a firm/chambers, as they assess how you fare in a legal environment and you get to see them in action, too – first- hand experience is the best way to decide if somewhere is the right fit. However, there are other ways of gaining legal work experience as well – read on to find out more. How do I get involved? Formal schemes: work placements and mini- pupillages Work placement schemes and mini- pupillages are an incredibly competitive part of the recruitment process. Many firms and chambers will offer you an automatic training contract or pupillage interview during your placement. As well as work and interviews, there are always opportunities to socialise. Most firms plan social events for placements from informal drinks to meals out or activities. It’s worth noting that you are always in competition with your fellow interns and recruiters are always assessing your abilities, but you should still be polite, friendly and a team player. You will still want to be on point when you’re socialising, so don’t over-indulge if there are drinks, for example. Many schemes will involve opportunities to experience real work as part of one or more of the firm’s teams. This may be
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