Aimee Godfrey studied her LLB at Dundee University where she is now also completing the Diploma in Legal Practice. She starts her traineeship with Brodies LLP this summer and is particularly interested in corporate and commercial law.
So, you’re into your second semester and wondering how the Christmas break ran away from you. Maybe over the holidays you were planning holidays, dealing with post-Christmas essay deadlines or just catching up on some much needed rest. If you haven’t got round to the summer placements you meant to apply for, the deadlines are fast approaching!
If I were to give you one piece of advice it would be to act now and don’t miss out on getting some great experience that’ll be essential for both your CV and personal development.
What options are there
Most of the larger firms offer two to four week placements over the summer months, with application deadlines in January or February. However, if working at a large firm is not for you, then completing a placement at a smaller firm is also likely to be an invaluable experience and a great addition to your CV.
I was lucky enough to complete two placements during the summer between third and fourth year, and although they were very different, I found both experiences to be extremely rewarding.
What you might be doing
Day-to-day tasks included carrying out research into new areas of law, completing Companies House forms, revising contracts, assisting with contract negotiations, and drafting letters and emails to clients. I was also tasked with conducting some business development research and then presenting my findings to a partner of the firm. I’m not going to lie, this was extremely daunting at first but thankfully the presentation went well and I definitely felt more confident with public speaking afterwards.
Another interesting day during my placement involved a trip to the SCDI Business Summit in St Andrews which one of the partners was presenting at. This gave me the opportunity to chat to people from a variety of different business backgrounds (not just lawyers) and greatly develop my networking skills. The importance of networking is drilled into you throughout university, and so being given the opportunity to develop my skills in this area was very useful. The speakers at the event were also very interesting to listen to and were great for developing my “commercial awareness”. All-in-all, a fantastic day out!
Pitching in across different departments
The other exciting thing about being a summer placement student is that everybody in the office knows you and so even though you may be working in a specific department, you are likely to be given exposure to a variety of different tasks. It was common for me to receive emails from trainees in other departments asking if I was available to help with their work too, which was great as it meant that my days were always varied and interesting.
Help for your traineeship applications
In addition to gaining these skills, completing a summer placement also often fast tracks you into the application process for a traineeship with that firm. If you are lucky enough to get your traineeship this way, it is very nice to be able to enjoy fourth year and write your dissertation without also having to juggle application forms and interviews at the same time. It will hopefully also mean that I am less nervous going into the office on the first day of my traineeship, although that is yet to be seen!
So, if it’s not already been obvious, I had a fantastic experience of summer placements and would certainly recommend thinking about applying for them, regardless of what stage you’re at but particularly if you’re in third year. Plus, considering summer placements are usually just a few weeks long; you’ll still be able to fit those travel plans in too!