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. 2023 vacation scheme student, Izzy Rucker reflects on her first week of the vacation scheme experience at Boodle Hatfield.
Upon arrival on Monday, we were treated to a breakfast and welcomed with introductory presentations on Boodle Hatfield's five core practice areas: Property; Private Client and Tax; Family; Litigation and Corporate. It was immediately clear how interwoven each practice area is to Boodle Hatfield as a whole and the talks offered a brilliant overview of the firm. At the end of day, we had a treasure hunt around the local area of Southwark (photo above). While our navigation skills might be in need of some improvement, it was a really fun activity and a great way to get to know the other Vacation Scheme students!
Tuesday began with a welcome from both Andrea Zavos, the Senior Partner, and Graham Winkley, the Training Principal. To borrow Andrea's words, she has Boodle Hatfield "running through her veins" and this seems to be the case for everyone who works at the firm. It was invaluable to hear more about the firm and the Training Contract process itself. Afterwards, we had a commercial acumen talk with Rahul Thakrar, with the focus being on how law firms can add value beyond legal expertise within the Private client space. Lucy Rao and Stephanie Brownings delivered a talk on Business Development and outlined the brief for the pitching task. We were put into pairs and tasked with pitching Boodle Hatfield as the prospective Family Legal Advisor to the fictional Orange Family. Each pair was given the opportunity to book an hour long meeting with either Lucy, or Stephanie and with their allocated partner. Business Development is usually only considered at a later career stage and it was really interesting to hear how Boodle Hatfield's trainees are encouraged to consider this from the outset. We will deliver our presentations on the last day of the Vacation Scheme and, hopefully, we will be able to put their tips into practice! Finally, we joined our first department, which in my case was the Family team. My supervisor, Pippa Cook, kindly introduced me to the Family department, who were all very welcoming.
Wednesday was our first full day in our departments. I was tasked with helping draft a summary of the key definitions and clauses of a client's Pre-nuptial agreement. This really highlighted the supportive and empathetic role a Family solicitor provides to their clients, not just in tumultuous times, but also at the start of what is hopefully a happy event. Over lunch, the Family and Litigation teams attended an external talk on Accounting Fraud from the Berkley Research Group. It was fascinating to hear more about the Patisserie Valerie scandal and how "generous" accounting can soon escalate to fraud itself. In the evening, I joined the firm's netball team with Jess, another Vacation Scheme student. Admittedly, the other team did win by a considerable margin but it was enjoyable nonetheless and a great way to socialise with solicitors in other departments.
Thursday began with a talk by Cormac Sheedy of Praxis Group, who detailed current trends in the Middle East. This was fascinating - as vacation scheme students we have definitely, been spoilt for choice with the vast range of talks from internal and external experts that we've been able to attend this week. Afterwards, we spent time in our departments and I was helping with a Post-nuptial agreement. We also had lunch with the trainees. I really enjoyed getting to know everyone in a relaxed, informal setting.
Friday was spent working from home, tackling the Property, Family, Litigation, Private Client and Tax and Corporate case studies which we had been given. The Litigation case study was particularly fun, being based on a Hotel Jewellery theft, and the infamous "Elon Dusk" featured in the Corporate case study. We will have the opportunity to discuss each case study in the following week. The first week has certainly flown by and been really enjoyable!
I think I speak on behalf of all the Vacation Scheme students when I say that we have been made to feel incredibly welcome and have been amazed just how much work and thought the team at Boodle Hatfield have put into making the two weeks truly memorable.
Want to find out more about training at Boodle Hatfield? Visit www.boodlehatfield.com/trainees/ to find out more.