Each summer we welcome six students to join us for a two-week period for our Vacation Scheme. The annual event enables the candidates to get an insight into working at Boodle Hatfield and gauge what a training contract may look like. Find out what our vacation scheme student, Caleb Bester, got up to during his first week.

Our first day, Monday, was structured to provide us all with a thorough introduction to the firm’s practice areas and the role of a trainee within each department. After a welcoming talk by Jenny Sanghera, the HR Business Partner, we were introduced to the Private Client & Tax, Property, Corporate, Family and Litigation departments by an associate and a trainee from each. In between these presentations, we had a casual lunch with several members of the firm as well as a tour of the office to make us feel more relaxed and to orient ourselves for the weeks ahead. What was striking to me was that, from day one, everyone we met at the firm was genuinely interested to hear about us and our motivations for attending the vacation scheme.

Tuesday began with more presentations. We met the former training principal, Richard Beavan, who explained the care the firm takes with the recruitment of its small trainee intake. We were then introduced to the financials of the firm and its business approach within the legal marketplace by Paul Spooner-Lillingston, the Finance Director. Finally, Lucy Rao, the BD Director, and Verity Batson, the Marketing Executive, spoke to us about the different types of business development undertaken by the firm. The emphasis throughout all these talks was the dynamism with which the firm, as a smaller independent law business, has in its approach to the present and future. In between these talks, we had lunch with the firm’s trainees at a local restaurant, who generously answered our questions on what it is like to train and work at Boodle Hatfield. In the afternoon, we went to our first departments. Throughout the remainder of the week, I worked under the supervision of Associate, Alice Julian in the Private Client & Tax department.

I was fortunate enough to be kept very busy during my time in the Private Client & Tax department, with many in the team kindly giving me a variety of work in which to get involved. My ongoing task for the week, which I began on Tuesday afternoon, was to review a schedule of family trust documents and organise various files in relation to the same for Alice Julian. Senior Associate, Laura Cullinane gave me the opportunity to undertake, and provide notes on several legal issues, and I began to research protectors in a corporate context that afternoon. Finally, that evening, I joined the firm’s 5-A-Side football team for a good kickabout and a drink afterwards!

On Wednesday morning, we were given a presentation on commercial acumen in a private client context by Rahul Thakrar, a partner in the corporate team. He stressed, particularly, how proactivity, creativity and lateral thinking are essential to the provision of effective legal and commercial advice for the firm’s clients. For the rest of that day, and for the whole of Thursday, I was engaged with several discrete matters for members of the Private Client & Tax department. For example, I wrote research notes concerning business property relief for inheritance tax and the abatement rules in the context of wills for Laura Cullinane. I was also able to write a note on domicile for Rachel Garwood, as well as proof a client note for Clare Pooley.

We were encouraged to work from home on Friday and prepare, in particular, for our departmental case studies and mock RFP pitch presentation for the following week. Through this, we were also able to see how the firm’s hybrid working system functioned in practice. During the course of this day, we also had a debrief from Jenny, to share how we had been getting on and to prepare us for the second week of the vacation scheme as well as provide feedback. In summary, the week was continually fascinating and wholly energising, and left me excited for the week to come.

Want to find out more about training at Boodle Hatfield? Visit www.boodlehatfield.com/trainees/ to find out more.