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Behind the scenes at the London vacation scheme

For many students and graduates, the best way to get to know what it's like working in an international law firm like White & Case is through a vacation scheme.  We run two-week programmes for up to 25 students three times a year.  

"What makes our vacation scheme different is the fact that students aren't competing with each other for a limited number of training contract offers," explains Yohanna Wilson, Graduate Resourcing and Development Specialist. "Everyone could potentially be offered a training contract, so the emphasis during the fortnight is really on collaborating and working in teams, just as our trainees and associates do. This creates a really supportive and friendly environment during the scheme."

“I was really struck by how diverse White & Case is. We had participants with different backgrounds, cultures and from a variety of universities across the UK.”

A chance to really get to know the Firm – and vice versa

So what does the two-week programme involve?  Before those selected arrive for their first day on the scheme, they submit their preferences for the practices that they want to join. Staying with one practice for the duration of the scheme gives participants a chance to really explore an area of interest and see what lawyers working in the practice actually do every day. 

Working closely with a trainee buddy and supervising associate, the scheme is a stimulating mix of trainee-level real work, business simulation exercises and insights into our people and our work. 

Previous vacation scheme participant and future trainee Rhona Luithle agrees: "My supervisor and trainee buddy were fantastic!  They were friendly, welcoming and gave me some really interesting work. What really struck me is how interested everyone was in me—they wanted to get to know me as well as answering all my questions."

Building a network – and a Bake Off quiche challenge

Vacation scheme alumni agree that building their network—and forging some Firm friendships, is one of the most enjoyable aspects of the programme. 

There's also time for informal networking and social activities, such as the chance to take in a bird's-eye view of the city from the London Eye. The popular Bake Off challenge sees teams put their quiche-making and baking skills against one another—a fun way to put their teamwork skills into action. 

Ongoing support and feedback

As well as the busy calendar of structured activities and time to work on their final presentations (on a choice of topics) and research tasks, participants also benefit from regular catch-ups with the Graduate Resourcing and Development team. For those who are offered training contracts following the vacation scheme, the Graduate Resourcing and Development team will become familiar faces over the following months and years. They maintain close contact both before trainees start with the Firm and as they progress through their different seats and then into NQ associate positions. 

Looking back on the experience, Rhona says that it's been a demanding, rewarding and very enjoyable learning curve. "I've learnt that the life of a commercial lawyer requires you to have great attention to detail and put 100 per cent into everything you do. And above all, that it's really important that you enjoy what you do."

Rhona is looking forward to starting as a trainee at White & Case in 2021.

Find out more about career opportunities at White & Case