The LawCareers.Net Handbook 2021

Insider report Macfarlanes LLP

Abdi Buwe completed Macfarlanes’ virtual vacation scheme in July 2020. He studied history and politics at the University of Warwick.

No of scheme places 55

What did you do while on the vacation scheme? I sat in the investment management and litigation teams across two virtual weeks and undertook tasks relating to both practice areas, which were mirrored on scenarios that trainees might face. I was given a trainee supervisor in both teams who was my point of contact for any questions I had. There was also a group negotiation task. Two teams – one representing the sponsor and the other the client and we negotiated a fictious scenario about a sponsorship contract. This was a great way to interact with the rest of the cohort. There was a partner networking session and we also spoke to the head of public policy David Gauke about his new role at Macfarlanes, as well as the senior partner who explained the firm’s response to coronavirus. We gained an insight into the firm’s international strategy and how legal technology and innovation are driving efficiency in client service. We were introduced to the firm’s employee networks and we watched a screening of prominent journalist Afua Hirsch’s talk at the firm on the importance of diversity and inclusion in the workplace. The firm recently introduced a BME reverse mentoring scheme, so it was great to see how Macfarlanes is fostering an inclusive culture. There were several social activities, including a virtual escape room, quiz and general networking sessions. What did you feel that you gained from the placement? Getting a sense of a firm’s culture in a virtual environment is difficult but Macfarlanes’ scheme enabled candidates to get a feel of the place without physically being there. One thing I took away was the variety in trainee degree backgrounds, which indicates that employees are encouraged to be themselves. There were talks showcasing each practice area and providing an in-depth insight into the type of work at all levels and how the practice areas interlink. I also gained an invaluable insight into the training contract and the support offered, from the sponsored LPC to seat change and qualification. We used a platform developed by the Macfarlanes tech and innovation team which enabled seamless communication across the firm as well as providing easy access to a wealth of resources. Which were the most enjoyable - and most challenging - aspects of the scheme? I enjoyed discovering the difference between my initial perception of the practice areas and the actual work involved – there are so many extra details and nuances. I also found my interactions with all members of the firm were insightful and helpful. It was reassuring that people were willing to take time out of their day to speak with you. Did the scheme end with a training contract interview or some other kind of further recruitment process? In the second week there was a written and in-tray exercise, and an application interview. All assessments were suited to both law and non-law graduates, so I didn’t feel like I was at a disadvantage. The interview focused on candidates’ commercial awareness and career motivation. The graduate recruitment team hosted a session to explain the virtual assessment process and addressed any general concerns. The assessment platform TopScore was user friendly and easy to navigate. Is there one key thing that you took away from the experience that you would pass on as advice to others? Be keen to learn. Ask questions and get to know people across the firm. Although they’re interviewing you, you’re also interviewing them.

Location of schemes London

Length of schemes 2 weeks

Remuneration (per week) £400

Dates of schemes Easter: April 2021 Summer:

June 2021 July 2021

Closing date for applications 31 January 2021

Application procedure Online application via our website join-us followed by an assessment day For full contact information and details of Training Contract, see the firm’s full entry in the main directory on p356

Remember to cite The LawCareers.Net Handbook on your application form if you apply to this law firm.



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