The Cripps vacation scheme: the inside story!
For the past few years, Cripps has run a summer vacation scheme at our Tunbridge Wells office. Vacation schemes allow prospective trainees to see what life in a law firm is really like and showcase their skills. This week we caught up with current trainees Lucy Knight, Heather Chow and Mollie Ferguson, who all undertook the Cripps vacation scheme, to hear their thoughts.
What did you get up to during the vacation scheme?
Heather: During the two week scheme I sat in 3 ‘mini-seats’. This was a great way to gain exposure to different practice areas. I was given real work and made to feel a part of the team. This may sound daunting, but I was paired up with a trainee and assigned a supervisor.
In the corporate team, I assisted in verifying statements made by directors and in the private client team I researched taxation (which was more interesting than it sounds!). Finally in the residential property team I worked on live sale and purchase transactions. At the end of each seat, I presented on different topics to each supervisor and this was fed-back into my review.
Lucy: I spent time in Development (property), Specialist Dispute Resolution (litigation) and Residential Property. I drafted current awareness bulletins for the teams, carried out research and prepared communications for fee earners. I also wrote an internal case update. At the end of each seat we had to do a mini research project and present this to our supervisor. This was an excellent opportunity to demonstrate our presentation skills.
Mollie: As Heather and Lucy mentioned, in each department we were given a research task and presented on the last day of each mini-seat. In my family seat, I was given the responsibility of liaising with the court. I also drafted attendance notes to update my supervisor on the progress of the matter.
What was your favourite part?
Heather: My favourite part was getting to know the current trainees and being able to ask questions about what it is really like to work at Cripps/as a solicitor. Cripps really does have an open door policy and people are genuinely happy to answer questions and provide insight. This proved invaluable when preparing my application!
Lucy: I really enjoyed some of the more obscure research tasks I was set. One of these was a guide to buying and selling a beach hut and the other was a piece on the damaging effects of Japanese Knotweed on residential property; I am told that this is still circulated amongst the residential property team!
As well as this, I went to lunches and social events with current trainees and other members of staff. A highlight was playing Croquet on the last day. This was a great chance to speak to the trainees to find out what life is really like at the firm. After glowing reviews, I decided I definitely had to apply for a training contract here.
Mollie: I loved getting to know the other participants in the scheme, two of whom started the training contract at the same time as me.
What advice would you give to anyone looking to get involved in the scheme?
Heather: If you want a training contract at a top regional firm, Cripps provides high quality work and a great work-life balance. Taking part in the vacation scheme helped me make the decision to apply to Cripps and I was able to refer to my experience of the scheme in my training contract application and during the interview process.
Lucy: It is a fantastic opportunity to get to know how friendly the firm is and the high quality work we do. It is also an excellent chance to make a good first impression before applying for the training contract. I had my final stage training contract interview during my time here and the added bonus of the scheme was that I felt at ease when talking to the divisional heads and managing partner; I already felt immersed in the Cripps way of life. The scheme was incredibly well-organised with friendly supervisors that were happy to answer questions. The opportunity for feedback at the end of each mini-seat really gave me the chance to improve throughout the scheme. Cripps made it clear that they value your input, even at such an early stage of your career.
Mollie: Go for it! You have nothing to lose but plenty to gain. It is an excellent way to get to know the firm from a unique angle. The vacation scheme gave me the ability to show in real life what I had written on my training contract application. This truly was an invaluable opportunity.
Please visit https://www.cripps.co.uk/careers/vacation-scheme/ for further details. Our 2017 summer vacation scheme takes place from 3 July – 14 July 2017. Applications are now open and close on 30 April 2017. If you’d like to apply please e-mail your completed application form, CV, covering letter and equal opportunities form to firstname.lastname@example.org.
We look forward to receiving your applications!