A summer placement is an excellent way to get to know a firm and for them to get to know you. In this post, first year trainee Louise Bell shares her advice on applying for and completing a summer placement.
Brodies welcomes applications for summer placements from those in third year and above. You can find the application form here on the graduate website. Remember that you can apply for a summer placement after you've finished your studies and even after your diploma year. Experiencing life at a law firm before your traineeship is an incredibly valuable experience, so don't be put off by applying after third year.
The key to a successful application is taking the time to get to know Brodies and our values. Your application and interview should demonstrate that you've put the time into doing this. Check out the graduate website and hints and tips pages. You'll also find out more via our trainee blogs like this one - we have a number of other posts containing tips on applications, so be sure to check them out. In your form don't forget to highlight why you're unique and a good fit for the firm!
First days of your placement
Should you be offered a summer placement, when you're due to start you'll feel a mixture of excitement and nerves, following on from several months of preparation. On the first day you'll get your own Brodies email address, and photo ID card. Something I really appreciated was being given your own account with your name, rather than being anonymous "student number 123".
After this, the first days of your summer placement will mostly be filled with IT training. It takes some time getting used to the computer programmes that law firms use. Fortunately, you're not expected to be a whizz at this already. But in just a day or two you'll learn the ropes, which will come in handy if you return for your traineeship.
The training is also a great way to settle in and meet your bunch of summer students, as well as some other people at the firm before joining your placement team. Once you get started you'll find those pre-placement nerves begin to disappear.
When you join your team you'll be assigned a mentor, who will guide you through your role and be on hand to answer questions. No doubt a trainee will also be around to give you tips.
My time in Real Estate
Summer placements at Brodies last four weeks. I spent mine in the Real Estate department in Edinburgh. I was really impressed by the quality and variety of work that was given to me so early on.
The work you get involved with will, of course, depend on your department. In Real Estate, I spent my time doing research tasks, helping to revise legal documents such as dispositions, and drafting documents such as standard security discharges. You'll have the opportunity to sit in on team meetings, and might also get to meet clients.
Most of this work is very similar to what you'll be doing day to day as a trainee, so it's an invaluable experience. I was also able to go along to the training sessions organised for the Real Estate trainees and picked up a thing or two that I found helpful during my diploma year.
Along with training you'll have "Learning Breakfasts", where different departments give you an overview of the kind of work they do. This is a great way to meet people across the firm, see the different offices, and get an idea of what seats might interest you as a trainee. (The breakfast rolls are also a treat!)
At Brodies we're very keen on fundraising for charities, so you might also get stuck into bake sales, charity film nights etc. We had a Real Estate team quiz for charity when I was doing my placement. It's great to get involved in as much as you can both work-wise and business development-wise. After all, this is the best opportunity you will get to showcase your abilities!
One of the benefits of doing a summer placement is the opportunity to complete the assessments that make up the traineeship application process during your time in the office, rather than all in one day. Plus you'll get to know your interviewers, which will put you somewhat more at ease for the interviews!
Usually the assessments include interviews, a written task and a presentation which you'll plan just before presenting. On top of this you'll be set a project by your team, and you'll do another presentation for them on that topic. These are usually on new developments in the law, making them really useful for your team members. All in all there are numerous opportunities for you to impress.
I found that my placement flew by, and now I've returned as a trainee in the Corporate team. I can now say with confidence that my summer placement was excellent preparation for the traineeship. I was impressed to have remembered most of our IT training, and already knew much of what the role of a Brodies trainee is. It was also wonderful to be welcomed back to the firm by familiar faces, and work alongside other summer students from my placement.
Applications for 2019 Summer Placements will open on 19 November 2018 and will close at noon on 4 January 2019. Click here to find out more.