From the moment I arrived for my first day of SJP Law's Vacation Scheme the Firm made me part of the team. In addition to training on the Firm's computer systems, I was given a personalised folder which not only outlined my schedule for the two weeks but also included information on staff and procedures. As this was the first Vacation Scheme I have ever taken part in, such a warm welcome and being able to see how organised the Scheme was really helped calm my nerves, making me feel confident and prepared ahead of such an important experience.
The final 9 days were spent between seats in Company, Compensation, and Commercial Property. I learned so much from working with different people and dealing with different areas of law. The tasks assigned were the kind of tasks which trainee solicitors are also assigned. Whilst they were therefore challenging, the work gave me an opportunity to experience what life as a trainee is realistically like and the level of work expected of them. I have recently finished my second year of Law at Hull University and so it was really useful to have an indication of the work I will be expected to be able to complete in a few years time. I was able to use knowledge gained from my academic studies but the tasks were designed for us to be able to learn new things by requiring us to conduct our own research and have discussions with the solicitors in the departments. This gave me the opportunity to be able to use my initiative and take away as much from the experience as possible, and also gave me a chance to demonstrate my ability to the Firm.
One of the things I thought was best about the scheme was whilst I was sat in each seat I was assigned a supervisor. This was something which made me feel valued as they all took the time to give me thorough and frequent feedback on the work I had produced, again meaning I have been able to take away so much from the experience. Being able to speak directly to members of staff also gave me the chance to find out more about SJP as a whole. As someone who has lived locally all my life, it was great and reassuring to see how much they invest in and care for their clients and local community.
Throughout my time at SJP, I was surrounded by friendly staff who made every effort to get to know and help me. On one of the days, the other students and I were taken for lunch to a local restaurant by some of the staff which was a great way for us to ask questions we had about the firm in an informal setting, and was also a great way to get to know them in a social environment. It also gave time for the staff to discuss their own positive experiences whilst at the firm which was very encouraging.
In the final week I was invited for a lunch with the Directors of the firm, along with the other students. During this time I felt they really tried to get to know us and were genuinely interested in receiving feedback on our time at the firm and our ambitions in terms of our future careers. Whilst the scheme provides a way for students to try impress the firm and hopefully invest in them as trainee, I felt that SJP also used the time to try show me that they are a firm worth applying to by investing so much time, effort and resources into me. They showed they clearly value all their members of staff and how the firm holds such a great environment to work in.
I finished the scheme having learned so much and even more excited to pursue a career as a solicitor than I was before. Whilst I am sad to leave SJP after a great two weeks, it was such a valuable experience and I am looking forward to applying for their Training Contract and hopefully being able to work with such a great team once again.