Taylor Wessing Virtual Vacation Scheme – Inside Story

As the pandemic’s impact on working life started to take shape in March and April earlier this year, many law firms cancelled or altered their work experience offerings including their vacation schemes because of the uncertainty of the endgame for the lockdown. We are in similar times with cases on the increase and regional tiered lockdowns taking place, including London. Therefore, it is a good time to examine virtual work experience opportunities and vacation schemes.

Taylor Wessing made it clear from the outset that it was going to honour its vacation scheme offers and developed a Virtual Vacation Scheme to do so. As a result, 36 students joined Taylor Wessing’s schemes for a week in either June or July. The programme consisted of work within one practice area, of the student’s preference, and matching up with a trainee buddy as well as an associate supervisor in that seat, and on one occasion a partner supervisor.

The students were fully immersed into life as a Taylor Wessing trainee and provided with real life work for their teams. Students also undertook 14 ‘Focus-on Sessions’ in which they learnt about each practice area the firm has in the UK and how they would be involved as a trainee in that each seat. They had the opportunity to speak with associates in that team and get a real feel for the practice.

Students also participated in two skills sessions on legal technology and effective collaboration, to focus on ‘upskilling our vacation schemers’’ as the firm put it. There was also a trainee Q&A and three assessed tasks, taking the place of the single assessed group task during a normal vacation scheme. The tasks included a group task, a practice area task and a bespoke task set by the graduate team designed specifically for the scheme, looking at a hypothetical scenario as a trainee, and finding solutions and key areas of work for the firm. Students also took part in a mock Pro-bono clinic, and a partner farewell from Dominic FitzPatrick – Senior Partner & Ann Casey – Partner. In terms of socials, the participants took part in a scavenger hunt and a Responsible Business Quiz where senior members of the firm were part of the teams.

Graduate Recruitment Partners, Matt Royle and Anna Humphrey, conducted one to one meetings with each vacation schemer to get to know them, their motivations and answer any questions. They were also involved in the firm welcome and formed the presentation panel.

Feedback from the programme was overwhelmingly positive across the board. In particular, attendants felt that there was strong communication from the firm and that even though the experience was virtual, the culture at Taylor Wessing shone through and there was a great sense from people at all levels of the firm buying into the programme.

But don’t take my word for it, Amie-Louise Corry took part in the programme and has written about her experience.

 

 

Amie-Louise Corry

Lancaster University

LLB Law degree; also completed the LPC at BPP

About Me

My participation in a national mock trial competition, during high school, was my first interaction with the legal profession and vital to forming my journey into law.

From this experience, I decided to research further into the legal profession, and also receive guidance on how to pursue law as an academic discipline. I attended many law firms open days, gaining an insight into the different practice area strengths and cultures, and began to identify the type of firm that I wanted to work for. My experience with Taylor Wessing, from the very start to the end of the recruitment process, has solidified that this firm is exactly what I have been searching for.

During my scheme, I have been able to determine that Taylor Wessing is a very different firm from other firms, as all employees are encouraged to be forward-thinking and innovative. The firm’s trainees expressed clearly that they are encouraged to engage with innovative thinking, and are trailblazers, paving the way for other firms to follow.

I was also given an insight into Taylor Wessing’s sector-focused approach, which ensures they remain the market leaders in a number of cutting-edge sectors. From this, I would be able to train alongside experts who provide legal services to exceptionally high profile and revolutionary clients and industries. As a trainee, this will ensure that I gain a variety of exceptional training and will develop my expertise and skills quickly.

Virtual Vacation Scheme

During my virtual vacation scheme, I spent one week with the Real Estate department and was made to feel a member of the team from day one. Every individual I met was extremely friendly and welcoming, and from partner to trainee level, no question was ever left unanswered. I was thoroughly impressed with the attitude of every individual, who understood that these were very strange times, but put us all at ease and made us feel comfortable throughout the experience. We were each given a ‘trainee buddy’ who were integral in providing a fantastic experience, where we felt supported and were always there to help!

The Vacation Scheme Set Up

The scheme comprised of us using Microsoft Teams to navigate through our day which was full with exciting virtual experiences including; catch-ups with graduate recruitment, focus-on sessions with many of the firm’s sectors, and even chats with other practice areas which we were unable to sit in as the scheme was reduced. I was also allowed to engage with a variety of sector-specific tasks during the scheme. This included: several research tasks, where I was asked to feedback my findings clearly and concisely, legal writing and even had the opportunity to sit in on a virtual conference with a number of important clients.

Social Events

The firm also organised a number of social events, such as a scavenger hunt, a virtual quiz and even end of scheme drinks which allowed us to learn more about the firm and its employees. I found it impressive that the firm had factored in time for social events, to ensure we had the opportunity to build relationships, but also gave us some downtime during a very hectic week!

The highlight of my scheme was the culture that I exhibited from every member of the firm. Taylor Wessing lives by its values and invests completely in its people and its clients. The firm encourages you to be your true authentic self and allows you the opportunity to have conversations with people at various levels across the firm, including partners. Moreover, there is a common belief that clients are the driving force behind the firm, and it is the need to continue to enhance the client experience that Taylor Wessing strives for.

I highly recommend applying to Taylor Wessing’s vacation scheme. The experience will provide you with the opportunity to work alongside a supportive network of individuals and gain a true insight into what the role of a trainee solicitor entails.