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Trainee tips - the vacation scheme

Writing applications for training contracts can be a really daunting process. How should you pitch your writing? What should you focus on? In my experience, the best way to feel confident about making an informed application is to get a sense of the culture of the firm first-hand – after all, culture is one of the biggest factors that differentiates one firm from another.

A great way to experience the working environment of a firm is through a vacation scheme. This will give you the opportunity to assess whether the firm's work style suits your personality and allows the firm to do the same.

During my vacation scheme at TLT, I was placed in the Commercial team for one week in June. On a TLT vacation scheme you get involved in real work. I had the opportunity to review contracts, sit in on client calls and be involved in live cases. TLT in particular is brilliant for not shying away from giving vac scheme students (and trainees) real responsibilities. It was really interesting to see how a legal career works in practice, and in particular, the importance that TLT places on having a commercial approach to work and building client relationships.

Coming into a firm for a vacation scheme can feel intimidating. It's easy to worry that you'll be expected to have a wide breadth of legal knowledge, especially around the area of law you are going into, but TLT soon puts you at ease. They reassure you that because you’ve got through to a vacation scheme they already know you have the intellectual capability to be there. What they are looking to assess is whether you have the right characteristics and personality to be able to learn and develop into a successful solicitor – which they will be teaching you to be!

As well as day-to-day work in your team, you get to enjoy some great social events such as pizza making with trainees, a lunch with partners and associates and both welcome and farewell drinks. The social events provide a great opportunity to interact with people in a more relaxed setting and allow you to feel more comfortable asking questions. Everyone at TLT is more than willing to help you out and will want you to succeed.

Overall, I found my vacation scheme at TLT a really invaluable way of gaining insight into the open and relaxed working environment, experiencing what work would be like in a commercially driven firm, and evaluating whether my personality and working style would be a cultural fit at TLT.