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, Jack Earle reflects on his fortnight with the firm.
Why did you decide to attend a vacation scheme at the firm?
I had the opportunity to network with one of the partners prior to my application and I was taken aback by how friendly and approachable they were. I was immediately made to feel at ease which gave me the confidence that Boodle Hatfield could be a great place to learn and work. I also wanted to apply to a firm of a relatively small size because I believe that the opportunity to onboard responsibility is much greater, I also felt that it would make it easier to form meaningful connections with colleagues. Beyond that I applied to Boodle Hatfield because of its highly regarded private client practice, I was yet to experience this side of the law specifically so the nature of their work came across as intriguing. Lastly, I applied to Boodle Hatfield because it is renowned for its longstanding client relationships that have spanned generations, one of my key motivations for a career in law is to build longstanding relationships with colleagues, and it was clear that Boodle Hatfield were experts at doing just that!
Which practice groups were you in?
I sat in property, supervised by Nick Salmon, during the first week. I also sat in corporate, supervised by Ruby Dyce, in the second week.
What sort of work were exposed to?
The variety and novelty of work that I was tasked on was what really stood out to me . Over the two weeks I was involved in discussions about and had exposure to documents and work such as a draft board of minutes, contractual terms, stock transfer form, share certificate, and resignation letters as part of a share purchase agreements. Despite having a non-law background I was surprised at the time staff took to explain these to me.
What was your key learning from the week?
I learnt many skills across the week, however, the biggest takeaway for me was the value of working in a team - the matters that solicitors are tasked on are so complex so they require more than one person's thinking, and it was clear to see how important collaboration was throughout my two weeks at Boodle Hatfield. I also learnt the importance of being attentive to detail and precise in the way you articulate the work you are tasked on, particularly when drafting documents, as there really is no room for error!
What stood out to you the most?
How friendly, approachable, and welcoming everyone was, coming in as a complete stranger to the firm I was made to feel like one of their own from the off, so that was really nice to experience. I was also surprised by how much of an effort people made to properly get to know me, not just trainees, but also senior members of the firm too! The novelty and variety of the work that is on offer at Boodle Hatfield, within the space of two days I was observing on a matters concerning a Middle Eastern client, and a British household brand! The responsibility I was lent also shocked me, you are not tucked away in a corner and left to photocopy or file, you are tasked to shadow on real matters that Boodle Hatfield are working on, and in the end you are made to feel as if you have made a real contribution to the department in which you are working which is really fulfilling. I was also surprised by the modern culture that Boodle Hatfield possesses, there is a real casual and flexible feel at the firm, it is a real come as you are sort of attitude at the firm, even in spite of the fact they have a 300 year old history!
Were there many opportunities for networking and socialising?
Absolutely, everyone at the firm, whether that is trainees or partners, are open to having conversations with you, and encourage you to ask questions. The existing trainees make a real effort to speak to you about the firm when they see you around, and there was several opportunities for coffee catch-ups! We had a trainee lunch during our first week, and in the second week we had a night out at Flight Club which provided great fun, and an opportunity to get to know people at the firm much better. I also had the opportunity to play football on one of the evenings which was great to be included in, it was a great way to come together, and great conversations were had after the match too!
What are your top tips for those attending a vacation scheme?
Don't be shy, everyone is so welcoming and approachable, and really wants to make sure you have the best experience possible. Jump into every opportunity that comes your way, see each opportunity as a time to learn and build new skills, and do not be afraid if you don't have the necessary expertise no-one is expecting you to know everything, they just want to see you have a go. Don't feel like you have to fit a mould or be someone you’re not, people want to see you for who you are, that is part of the reason you would have been selected in the first place! Be open to talking to your fellow 'vac-schemers', use them as a support network because I can guarantee that whatever you are querying they are probably experiencing the same feelings too. Lastly, just have a great time, these vacation schemes are so competitive to get on, the last thing you want to do is feel as if you wasted most of it worrying or feeling stressed, ease the pressure, be yourself, and enjoy the journey!
Want to find out more about training at Boodle Hatfield? Visit www.boodlehatfield.com/trainees/ to find out more.