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 be like. Find out what our vacation scheme student, Mary-Anne Grego, got up to during her second week.
After a weekend rest, week two of the vacation scheme promised three main treats: (1) case study discussions; (2) sitting in a new department, and (3) the highly anticipated ‘RFP’ Presentations. During week one, we had been given the opportunity to prepare notes for the case studies prior to the sessions. Each case study gave us a taster of the type of work that Boodle Hatfield undertakes in its five practice areas: Private Client & Tax, Property, Corporate, Family and Litigation.
Monday morning began by discussing the litigation case study with Senior Associate, Becky Shaw. The scenario involved an exciting mix of theft, expensive jewellery and Oxford mansions from which we then discussed the issues at hand: liability, negligence, and foreseeability. The next session, given by Associate, Hugo Brown, provided an insight into Boodle Hatfield’s corporate work. With an aptly named wealthy client, Richard Richman, wanting to acquire a new company, we discussed the legal and commercial processes, risks and benefits that he might encounter along the way. We then moved onto issues of divorce, financial remedies and child arrangements. The family case study was led by Associate, Genevieve Smith. During this we discussed the no fault divorce bill, the difference between cohabitation vs marriage and the sensitivity required to be a family solicitor. Having spent my first week in the family department with Pippa Cook, I found this case study really interesting as it touched on some aspects I had come across in the previous week whilst also raising new questions that I had not previously considered. Despite not having studied any law before, I found these sessions manageable and extremely interesting.
Before lunch, Katie O’Callaghan, a partner in the family team, spoke to us about her pathway to partnership. As someone who trained at Boodle Hatfield, Katie’s insight into her career was a testament to the quality of training, work and the collegiate culture that the firm fosters.
After lunch, we embarked on a treasure hunt around Bankside. This allowed the vacation schemers to get to know the local area. Despite the UK’s soaring temperatures (it was during the UK’s heatwave where temperatures rose above 37 degrees and was described by one of the lawyers at Boodle Hatfield as ‘like being on the inside of a hairdryer’), we had been well prepped by the lovely HR team with cold water, hats and sunscreen to tackle the challenge. The treasure hunt took us all around - from the Southbank to Borough Market - and was a fantastic way to see the eclectic and vibrant environment that Boodle Hatfield’s offices are situated within.
We arrived back in the office on Tuesday morning to continue with our case study sessions. With Property Senior Associate, David Rawlence, we discussed the effects of stamp duty, planning permission and chancel repair liability (- a wacky, but nevertheless legitimate, clause that I had no idea existed -) in the property case study. The Private Client and Tax session, led by Senior Associate, James Woods-Davison and Associate Cosima Lowe, was an extremely helpful insight into trusts, inheritance and duties of care. In addition to the practice area sessions, we were also given the opportunity to hear about compliance in a law firm. Compliance Manager, Emma Barnard’s presentation demonstrated the different types of issues and considerations that law firms undertake when onboarding new clients and was particularly insightful into the work conducted by non-fee earners.
In the afternoon, I was introduced to Michael Duffy, an Associate in the Private Client and Tax team, who I was to be sharing an office with for the second week. I was kept constantly busy with different research tasks and had a first attempt at drafting an email to a client. As a non-law student, I found the research around different types of lasting powers of attorneys particularly interesting.
On the following day, I continued with my numerous tasks from the day before. Sitting in the same office as another lawyer enabled me to see first-hand the collaborative and friendly culture that Boodle Hatfield adopts: multiple times a day, numerous different people would pop their head round the door to ask advice, assistance, or simply say hello. Later in the day, we were lucky enough to have a 1:1 with Sara Maccallum, the firm's Senior Partner. During my short chat with her, we discussed the future direction and growth areas of the firm. It was evident that Boodle Hatfield has a genuine interest in the recruitment and retention of its employees. On Wednesday evening, we were treated to a social evening at Urban Golf. This provided a fantastic opportunity to interact with trainees and the HR team in a more casual environment.
Thursday was the final day of the vacation scheme. This finale was marked by a ‘RFP’ Pitching Competition - i.e., a presentation to a client outlining why a firm is best suited to represent them. Our brief was to present to a Family Office needing advice in all the areas that Boodle Hatfield specialises in, most notably Private Client & Tax and Family. After being split into three groups of two, each pair was assigned a Partner who had experience in pitching. I was partnered with Harry and we were fortunate to be paired with Private Client Partner, Hayden Bailey, who imparted much of his wisdom upon us. This pitch was a great opportunity to combine the knowledge we had of the firm with our presenting skills and provided an entertaining end to a highly informative two weeks at Boodle Hatfield!
Want to find out more about training at Boodle Hatfield? Visit www.boodlehatfield.com/trainees/ to find out more.