6 Top Tips for Making the Most of Your Vacation Scheme

6 July, 2016
by: Cripps Pemberton Greenish

This week we asked our six vac schemers to give us six top tips they learned during their time with us. It turned out they were full of great recommendations! Read on to find out more …

1 – Elisabetta: ‘Do not be afraid to ask: make the most of it’

Being a ‘newbie’ is always scary. You find yourself in a new environment and what you have studied so far at university doesn’t seem to be very useful. Practising the law is very different from studying it.  But you shouldn’t be afraid because this is when the real fun begins. The key to succeeding is to ask as many questions as you can. People at Cripps Pemberton Greenish make you feel extremely welcome and they encourage your curiosity. If there is something you don’t quite understand, simply ask for clarification. Everyone is there to help you and understands that you are still learning. This is the perfect occasion to step out from your comfort zone and make the most of your experience at Cripps Pemberton Greenish.

2 – Luke P: ‘Honing your drafting skills’

Drafting letters and legal documents is an area where undergraduates will typically lack experience. Tips which I have received for drafting letters of advice include focusing on the individual client in question and adapting your writing style accordingly. Are they the sort of person who will understand technical information or will you need to make a greater effort to explain things in layman’s terms? It is also important to remember that you are representing the client. A bad habit which can result from writing one too many essays at university is giving two-sided arguments. If you are writing a letter to the opposing solicitors, don’t do their job for them! Drafting takes practice but with the supervision and support given to me by Cripps Pemberton Greenish, I can now feel more confident in my ability to draft coherent pieces of legal work.

3 – Elliott: ‘Navigating and mastering the online systems’

I would advise you to really get to grips with the online systems used by the firm to store documents (File Site), search for guides and precedents (Grey Matter) and utilise an abundance of online legal resources (Practical Law, Westlaw and others). Each task you are given will involve the use of one or all of these, at first glance, formidable systems and your understanding of them is thus critical to fulfilling those tasks. Use the first day or morning of your first seat to really get to know the systems and don’t hesitate to ask questions about how to navigate yourself around them. This will allow you to spend your time at Cripps Pemberton Greenish focused on honing your legal skillset rather than wondering where the correct file is!

4 – Harriet: ‘Keeping a diary of your day’

During the Cripps Pemberton Greenish vacation scheme, not only do you spend time in various seats, but you also get the opportunity to attend talks about the different practice areas and the structure of the firm. Keeping a diary of your time at Cripps Pemberton Greenish helps you to deal with the amount of information you have to take on board. It is also a very effective way for you to log the various pieces of work you have completed and reflect on what you have learnt. Having a diary will be a valuable tool when preparing for a training contract interview, as you will have great examples of times when you have demonstrated the skills which are needed in a great lawyer.

5 – Zoe: ‘Be yourself!’

Applying for vacation schemes can be quite a stressful process and you have to fight off a lot of competition along the way. Once we have proved that we are good applicants on paper, we then need to demonstrate that we have the right attitude and mentality to succeed in practice My top tip is to be eager to learn, engage with all members of the team and be friendly, but most of all, be yourself!! It is important to decide whether or not you are a good fit for the firm and whether the firm is a good fit for you, and this will be impossible to do if you are pretending to be someone you are not. Use your vacation scheme to show the firm exactly who you are, what you are all about and why you are the right fit for them!

6 – Luke S: ‘Throw yourself in at the deep end!’

My top tip for future Cripps Pemberton Greenish vacation scheme students would be to see and experience as many different types of work as you possibly can over the two weeks. In order to do so, it is imperative to keep checking with your supervisor if there is anything further that you could be helping with. This not only demonstrates a willingness to get stuck into life at the firm but also allows you to develop more practical skills which will benefit you once you begin as a trainee. It may seem daunting to throw yourself in at the deep end initially but the nerves soon start to turn to excitement and you will end up accomplishing wonderful things during your time here.