Sep 07, 2020

Written By Jack J Collins, Editor,

Vacation Schemes at Taylor Wessing

Sep 07, 2020

Written By Jack J Collins, Editor,

With the application deadlines for vacation schemes coming up, we sat down with Sarah Harte, Graduate Recruitment Officer at Taylor Wessing, to discuss the ins and outs of the scheme at the firm and how to fine-tune an application for maximum impact.

AAL: How is the vacation scheme at Taylor Wessing structured?

At Taylor Wessing we only take on 40 students per year on our two-week scheme, so that we can give you the rich and personal insight you need to embark on a future career in law. From the first day of the scheme you will benefit from comprehensive training with an induction programme that introduces you to our people and business strategy.

AAL: Are trainees limited to one area of law on the vacation scheme?

We are a full service firm so our students work in two different practice areas. In order to maximise your experience we reach out to you before you begin: to find out your preferences and to allow our seat planning to be best suited to all candidates.

The two weeks are action packed with socials, networking opportunities, pro bono, practice area presentations and skills sessions. You will also be expected to deliver a project as part of a group.

AAL: What do you feel sets the Taylor Wessing scheme apart from others?

The ambition of the Taylor Wessing scheme is to ensure that there are plenty of personal development opportunities for participants. Our summer vacation scheme last year was described as "a game-changer for trainees and vac schemers in terms of learning opportunities".

AAL: What kind of advice do you give over the course of the scheme?

We believe in the importance of being open with feedback and at the end of each week you will receive a report from your supervisor regarding your performance, highlighting your strengths, and pointing out any areas you should focus on developing, in order to help you in your future career. 

We also offer a lot of support - each summer vacation scheme student is assigned a buddy as well as a supervisor, and you are also fully integrated into your specific departments so that there is always a network of people to whom you can ask questions.

AAL: How can an interviewee make an impact during the application process?

With regards to the application process we do not have a checklist of what makes a Taylor Wessing trainee, as we appreciate diversity of background and insight in the trainees we hire. Therefore, to stand out in the application process, we advise all applicants to maximise every opportunity to display their range of interests, experiences and achievements. 

AAL: So there are benefits to talking about the societies you are part of at University and so forth?

Yes, but be wary of just listing answers, as it is crucial to showcase, through your achievements and your on-going regular commitments, your ability to work both individually and as part of a team.

There is a word limit so it is important to be clear and concise on your application form – every sentence should add value. There will not be room to include every detail, so you will need to be selective with the information you provide.

AAL: In terms of the applicants you’ve had so far, what did the most impressive ones do, and why did it work?

The most impressive candidates are the ones who put themselves in the shoes of the recruiter and really think about why we are asking these specific questions. In this way they are able to display real depth of thinking in their answers.

We appreciate creativity in responses and not just saying what you think we want to hear - we want to see personality in the process. It is important to think about your competition and how you can stand out - showcase your strengths throughout your application.

AAL: How can students make an impact on the actual vacation scheme?

Students always comment on the fact that they are given real responsibility during vacation schemes, so it’s important to show your ability to be proactive, in order that you make the most of the opportunity of understanding the profession and getting stuck into real work. 

Networking is important as we are a firm based on building strong relationships and we feel that being curious and asking questions is a great way to learn. You should also use your time wisely by listening to senior colleagues, prioritising tasks and showing attention to detail in your work.

AAL: Have many students who completed vacation schemes with you gone on to gain training contracts?

There is a strong conversion from the summer vacation scheme, with 70% of our training contracts coming from the programme.

AAL: What is your main piece of advice for applicants for vacation schemes at Taylor Wessing?

Make the most of the opportunities offered on the summer vacation scheme - build your network, gain insight from leading expects and take on board the feedback you are given. All of these things are vital to giving you the best opportunities in your future career.

The deadline for applying for Vacation Schemes at Taylor Wessing is 30th January 2016. For more information, visit the Taylor Wessing job profile here.