I was drawn to TLT's summer vacation scheme principally because of their reputation for being an innovative firm doing really interesting commercial work with big clients in growth sectors such as renewables and technology. I had also heard great things about the open and collaborative working environment there and wanted to find out more for myself.
After my application was accepted I was placed in the Commercial Dispute Resolution team for one week in July. From day one I was getting real hands-on experience within the team and managing a workflow that was more or less typical for a trainee solicitor. I worked on a good balance of cases including a contentious trademark application and an ongoing contractual dispute that was heading for arbitration.
The highlight for me was drafting a strongly worded letter on behalf of a client to a rogue website owner, having previously researched the legal basis of a possible claim myself. On the final day I also got to attend the County Court to see one of the team's senior associates advocate in front of a judge, which was particularly interesting having followed the development of the case throughout the week.
Although it may seem daunting being asked to take on real work from day one, the team was incredibly supportive. I was supervised directly by a partner, while a trainee was also close by to offer advice when I needed it. Since the office is all open plan, there are plenty of opportunities to meet and talk to other people within the firm. There’s no sense at all of being the ‘invisible work experience student’- people were always coming up to introduce themselves and ask me how I was getting on. On one day the whole Commercial team got together for lunch at a nearby restaurant and I ended up sitting next to one of the firm’s equity partners, who was only too happy to pass on some pearls of wisdom!
On the social side, a group of the current crop of trainees took all the vac schemers out for drinks on Wednesday at ‘The Apple’, which gave us an informal opportunity to mix and find out about life as trainee with TLT. On the final Friday there were drinks and nibbles, which was a nice way to round-off and meet people from different parts of the firm.
The level of work I was exposed to, coupled with the fact that for one week you are really made to feel like you are a part of the firm, made my vac scheme at TLT an extremely valuable experience and it is something I would strongly recommend to anyone interested in TLT.
Richard is currently studying the LPC part-time at the University of Law in Bristol while working for TLT in our Regulatory team as a Legal Assistant. He graduated from Newcastle University with a History degree.