Oct 08, 2021

Written By Billy Sexton

“Dedicating time in your first year to a firm shows great commitment”: how a First Year Insight Scheme at Taylor Wessing can kickstart your career

Oct 08, 2021

Written By Billy Sexton

The first year of university is stereotypically associated with making new friends, enjoying student life and settling into your new life, potentially living away from home. Whilst the impact of Covid-19 has undoubtedly changed that experience, your first year is also the time to be considering your career choices and how you can get ahead. 

Taylor Wessing’s First Year Insight Scheme is a great way for those interested in a career in law to learn more about the firm’s innovative nature and the application process for training contracts. We caught up with Alice Hasted, who runs the scheme, to discover exactly why the First Year Insight Scheme is an amazing opportunity. 

Explain in a few words what the First Year Insight scheme at Taylor Wessing is all about.

Insightful, encouraging, productive and fun! 

Our First Year Insight day is a unique opportunity to learn more about us as a firm; who we are, what we do, and the values we live and breathe. This is accompanied by learning how to stand out throughout the application process with our hints and tips, plus our business game – akin to our assessment centre tasks. 

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How can attending the First Year Insight day help a student with their future applications and development as an aspiring solicitor in general?  

When applying to a firm's vacation scheme or training contract it's important to know and display your motivations for wanting to be a trainee there. Our First Year Insight Day is the first step in discovering if Taylor Wessing is the right place for you. An insight into the sectors the firm works within, our clients and our people are pivotal factors in deciding whether to apply. You will also gain a strong understanding as to each stage of the recruitment process, meaning when you are eligible to apply in October you will be confident in the process and what is required to be successful. 

Callum Chamberlain, a future trainee at Taylor Wessing, pays testament to this. “Attending the First Year Insight scheme is an invaluable opportunity to learn about the firm at a really early stage in the application process, and allows you to focus on specific aspects you have seen first hand in subsequent applications to the firm.” 

Furthermore, Callum outlines how the First Year Insight Scheme provides an opportunity to expand your network. “It also not only gives you an idea of what a summer vacation scheme will be like, but it gives you the chance to network with people from all different areas of the firm. Practising this skill at an early stage in your career will stand you in good stead as you progress through the application season.” 

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How does the First Year Insight scheme assist with developing commercial awareness and understanding Taylor Wessing’s specialist sectors?

You will not become commercially aware overnight. Therefore, any head start you can have in developing this essential skill will help build you into a successful lawyer. During the Insight day we provide lots of hints and tips on how to continually build on your commercial acumen, as well as putting this to the test during our business game. The game is a really fun practical element of the day where you work through a task in a group, building in your knowledge of Taylor Wessing and the work we do, as well as your commercial awareness. Learning from others and practising a task similar to those used at assessment centre will put you in great stead for the real thing!

Pheobe Sennett, a trainee at the firm, explains that “attending the Trailblazing Insight Day helped me gain a crucial insight into life at Taylor Wessing ahead of the application process. The day included hearing from individuals at all levels across the firm and a commercial awareness case study. I developed a deeper understanding of Taylor Wessing’s key sector focuses.”

How important do you think it is for first years to get ahead and interact with firms?

There are many different types of firms as well as routes you can take within a legal career, and it will take time to work out where you want to be, but it's important that you spend time deciding. Attend as many law fairs are you can, reach out to people you have met to ask follow up questions, develop on your research and attend First Year Insight Days – these actions will help you work out where you want to be. Once you have cracked the who, what and where, you will be ahead of the game and can start focussing on developing in depth knowledge of those specific firms you are targeting and tailor your application to them – this will help you stand out in the application process. 

Do you think people who interact with firms and get ahead earlier gain a competitive advantage when it comes to applying for vacation schemes and training contracts?

The legal industry can be competitive, there is no denying that. Through interacting with Taylor Wessing from an early stage you are going to know a lot about us, as well as why you want to work here. Following the Spring Insight day you then have the summer to build on your new found knowledge, keep track of the firms activity (helping to build on your commercial awareness) and be ready for applications to open. There will be a space in your application form to note that you attended the Insight Day which will help highlight your motivation and dedication to us and be a great talking point throughout your interview. 

David Stuart, a current trainee solicitor at Taylor Wessing agrees that interacting with firms earlier will provide candidates with an advantage. “Firstly, attending a first-year insight day will help you write a better application for that particular firm. Inside knowledge is invaluable when it comes to writing a vacation scheme application, where you have to stand out from other candidates by specifically tailoring your application to the firm and clearly demonstrating you've done thorough research.”

David goes on to explain that “attending a first-year insight day gives you the opportunity to discover early on whether a firm will be a good fit for you. There's a lot of emphasis on the rigorous selection process that law firms subject their applicants to, but your own selection process, deciding which firms to apply to, should be equally rigorous. Spending a day at a firm gives you the opportunity to meet with trainees, visit the office, and get a sense of the culture.”

What advice would you give to someone considering applying for the First Year Insight scheme?

Apply! The First Year Insight Day provides you with amazing exposure into Taylor Wessing at an early stage of your career. Dedicating time in your first year to a firm shows great commitment and initiative. The best way to discover the right route for you is from real life experience, and we hope that the Insight Day will show why Taylor Wessing is the place for you!

To apply to Taylor Wessing's First Year Insight Day you will be in your first year of a three-year law degree, or penultimate year of your non-law degree. 

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