Thursday, 12 October 2017

Clyde & Co Bright Futures Programme

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Clyde & Co Bright Futures Programme

With competition for training contracts as fierce as ever, it’s never too early for students to start engaging with law firms. Whilst first-year open days and insight evenings are two-a-penny, Clyde & Co is offering aspiring solicitors in the infancy of their academic careers a work experience opportunity with a difference…..

The Clyde & Co Bright Futures programme is a week-long scheme which offers first-year law students and penultimate-year non-law students the rare opportunity to gain an insight into life at an international law firm.

Attendees of the Bright Futures programme spend one week in one of Clyde & Co’s world-renowned departments and shadow a lawyer who is an expert in their field. Over the course of the week, students have the opportunity to observe sophisticated legal transactions, develop an understanding of the firm’s core industry sectors and learn how the firm assists their clients in achieving their commercial objectives. Candidates are also allocated a trainee ‘buddy’, who will be on hand throughout the week to answer any questions.

‘Students need to be conducting their research into the legal industry earlier and earlier. We wanted to offer a longer programme where first and penultimate year students (depending on their degree subject) could come in, actually sit at a desk and see first-hand the work that trainees do at the firm’, says Rebecca Babb, Senior Graduate Executive at Clyde & Co.

It’s not all about work, though. An array of social events take place over the course of the week, giving trainee hopefuls the opportunity to network with colleagues across Clyde & Co and giving an insight into the firm’s culture. ‘We very much see the Bright Futures programme as a way of generating brand awareness and securing students’ commitment to the firm early on’, says Rebecca.

At the end of the week, participants of the Bright Futures programme might be saying goodbye to their desk but they certainly won’t be saying goodbye to the firm. Far from being simply a week’s work experience, students will have the opportunity to continue engaging with the firm right up until they start their second or final year at university. Those who impress will be encouraged to apply for the following year’s vacation scheme and get the opportunity to be fast tracked through to the vacation scheme assessment centre.

This year’s Bright Futures programme will take place between 4 – 8 December. Applications are open now and close on 12 November 2017. To apply, click here.

Magnus Taylor: final year History student at the University of Warwick (in his penultimate year at the time of the scheme)

How did you hear about the Bright Futures programme?
I had a firm interest in Clyde & Co and found out through the graduate recruitment brochure.

Why did you decide to apply for the Bright Futures programme?
As a non-law student with prior experience in the legal sector but no specific corporate/commercial law experience, I believed it offered a valuable insight into the differences between corporate/commercial law and other legal fields.

How did you find the application process?
The application process consisted of an application form followed by a competency telephone interview. As a non-law applicant, I found the process very accommodating and inclusive, which was evidenced by the focus on personal ability rather than legal knowledge.

Which department did you sit in?
I sat in Professional and Financial Disputes for one week, which provided a valuable insight into a global law firm, facilitating the transition from an academic to a more commercially-focused mind-set.

Tell us about a task you worked on during the programme.
In one task, I had to apply tort law in practice by assessing whether there had been a breach in the duty of care to the claimant, and examining whether there was merit in the quantum of damages allegedly proposed in the letter of claim sent to the defendant.

Did you attend any social events whilst on the programme?
The programme involved numerous social events, such as the Future Joiners Party which brought together future trainees and current members of the firm. Perhaps my favourite event involved dinner at Tayyabs (an Indian restaurant in east London) where I was exposed to delicious cuisine.

What was your impression of the culture of the firm?
The firm’s ethos was incredibly benevolent, inclusive and fostered a collegiate atmosphere. I really enjoyed meeting the people working at the firm, and I always felt I could go to someone if I needed help.

Would you recommend the programme to others? Why?
Without the Clyde & Co Insight scheme I have no doubt it would have been considerably harder to gain commercial work experience. Since the scheme, I have completed further placements and have used the skills gained from the insight scheme to my advantage.

Have you attended any other law firm open days or vacation schemes? If so, how does the Bright Futures programme compare?
I have since completed a vacation scheme with a US firm in their Singapore office, and I have also completed a week’s work experience with a bank in Canary Wharf, London. The Bright Futures programme was definitely a stepping stone to a vacation scheme. It represents a considerably higher level of usefulness than an open day might be able to achieve.

Ben Foster: final year History and Classics student at Durham University (in his penultimate year at the time of the scheme)

How did you hear about the Bright Futures programme?
Clyde & Co has been on my radar since the start of first year. I became aware of the Bright Futures programme through researching the limited number of opportunities for penultimate year, non-law students.

Why did you decide to apply for the Bright Futures programme?
I applied to the Bright Futures programme because it offered exactly the opportunities and experiences that I required as a penultimate year non-law student: real, trainee-level work in a supportive firm; training sessions focused on demystifying the workings of an international law firm; and, most importantly, the ability to take a 'practice run' at the graduate recruitment process before the crush of final year.

How did you find the application process?
Because of the introductory nature of the programme, the application process was very straightforward and, importantly for me, did not include any online tests. The process was predominantly competency based, not requiring any previous legal experience, and definitely helped me prepare for vacation scheme applications later last year. The graduate recruitment team also offered feedback on our successful applications - a very welcome addition and one that was of great use in my later vacation scheme applications.

Which department did you sit in?
I was allocated to sit in one of my top three department choices: Shipping and Yacht Finance, a key area of the firm considering its maritime expertise. Exposure to other departments was also easy to come by, with trainees and associates from Corporate, Marine and International Trade, and the Trade Finance Group talking me through their work over lunch. Additionally, the graduate recruitment team made a concerted effort to include as great a variety of departments as possible at the regular training sessions, allowing me to meet members of all of the major sectors and practice areas within the firm.

Tell us about a task you worked on during the programme.
Tasks over the week really varied according to the business needs of the department and, arguably, gave a far more realistic perspective of the work of a trainee compared to other, overly structured vacation schemes. Importantly the team made a genuine effort to include me in the live work, allowing me to get involved in everything from a client call on the international sale of commodities, to running a section of the CP checklist for the sale of two oil tankers. None of the tasks were 'dumbed down' just because I was on the programme, which was really useful in developing my own understanding, but advice and explanations were also always on hand from the partner level down.

Did you attend any social events whilst on the programme?
The programme managed to include more social events in one week than most firms fit into a three-week vacation scheme. All were superb and allowed us all to get a real idea of the firm's culture.

What was your impression of the culture of the firm?
Very relaxed with the clear understanding that everyone was bright and working hard on high-quality work. Clyde & Co is also perhaps the most supportive corporate environment that I have ever been in, for example, a partner took 45 minutes out of the end of their day to explain the deals that they were working on and answer any questions that I had about the firm.

Would you recommend the programme to others? Why?
I would recommend the Bright Futures programme to anyone who wants to start building their path into commercial law. The real work gave a really good overview of the trainee experience at Clyde & Co and the programme as a whole acted as an invaluable stepping stone to other opportunities within the legal sector.

Have you attended any other law firm open days or vacation schemes? If so, how does the Bright Futures programme compare?
The programme offered so much more than could ever be included in even the best law firm open day. Furthermore, because of its unassessed nature, it allowed for far more learning and professional development than my experience of a vacation scheme with a larger US firm.

Is there anything else you would like to add?
The Bright Futures programme was a superb opportunity, not just to learn more about Clyde & Co as a firm, but also to greatly develop my understanding of how and where I wanted to progress within the legal industry.

For more information on the Bright Futures Programme, please visit www.clydegraduates.com.

Last modified on Tuesday, 28 November 2017 14:18