Every year, I receive lots of questions from summer placement applicants and budding trainees who are keen to know more about what to expect, tips and how they can make the most of the experience.
I've pulled together some of the most common queries, along with responses based on input from myself and other colleagues who have been through the process.
What type of work will I be involved in during a summer placement?
The summer placement is an opportunity for you to experience what it's like to be a lawyer, so it's definitely not a tea-making and filing exercise! It varies depending on which seat you are in; one of our trainees spoke recently at a virtual session about her summer placement being in Personal and Family, where she experienced both the personal law and family law aspects of the team by working on wills and powers of attorney, as well as going to court (pre-COVID-19) to watch and assist colleagues with family and divorce matters.
It's also worth reading our trainee blogs, they're full of useful insights and info.
At university, I have plenty of spare time between academic terms. How can I use that time to improve my career prospects?
A part-time job or volunteering is a good option. It adds strength to your CV and helps you to develop valuable skills like communication, teamwork and time management – all useful for becoming a lawyer.
Read more. It doesn't have to be legal text – it could be fiction, media articles, biographies – anything that interests you. Reading the words of others can help you to develop your own writing style and to become a good communicator. Many of our colleagues write blogs and articles for media, and this can help to build your profile.
Make a Linkedin profile; this will help you to connect with others, keep up to date on what's happening in the business community and the legal sector – and begin to build your own profile.
Are there any subjects or diploma courses that are more desirable to employers than others?
In short, no. It's useful to get exposure to a wide area of topics, but choose what you are interested in, rather than what you think others want you to study. It's also worth remembering that we don't just take academic results into consideration; we also look at the skills and experiences you can bring to a role.
Where can I find out info about Brodies?
Our website and social media pages have plenty of info about our people, our services, our latest news and much more. We have an annual publication too, which includes client matters and stories from across our firm – you may find that useful for getting to know who we are and what we do.
How do I choose seats for a traineeship?
Do your research thoroughly before making your choices – and think about the areas of law you have enjoyed most at university. There are lots of different specialisms within our firm – specialisms within specialisms too - so it's worth spending time looking into what those involve.
During a traineeship, is it possible to be seconded to a client?
Yes, trainees are sometimes seconded to clients; these opportunities come up regularly and are a good opportunity for you to see things from the client's perspective. Trainees who are on secondment still attend all of our training sessions, as well as any the client offers.
What opportunities are there for trainees to get involved in community and charity initiatives at Brodies?
There are lots of opportunities to get involved. You could join the charities committee, which oversees fundraising activities across the firm – or you can get directly involved in an activity itself. These include bake sales, endurance challenges, music quizzes – and if you have your own idea for a fundraiser, you could lead your own.
There is also an opportunity to be involved in PRIME. During the week-long work experience programme, we usually involve trainees in delivering sessions – participants find it particularly helpful to hear first-hand from those who have just started out in their own careers.