Charlotte Beer, a student at the University of Exeter, speaks about her journey from attending an open day at Reed Smith, to securing a training contract!
Whilst studying for my A-levels I was unsure of which career path I wanted to pursue, so I felt that studying law would allow me to gain valuable transferable skills in the hope of securing a legal career after university.
Open days are a fantastic way of experiencing what life at a law firm is like. City law firm open days allow you to learn more about the business environment in which the law firm operates, helping to develop commercial awareness. They are informative and incredibly helpful when it comes to submitting applications for vacation schemes and training contracts. Meeting representatives from the firm allows you to assess the firm’s culture, which will later help you decide which firm you are most suited to (and vice versa!). Open days are not only a chance for you to get to know more about the commercial context of the firm and to learn valuable skills from the skills sessions, but are also a chance for you to network and leave a positive impression. My advice to anyone attending an open day is to ask questions, be enthusiastic, and be polite and make the most of the day; although at first glance open days may seem trivial, they are ultimately the first step in securing a training contract!
The Reed Smith open day consisted of an introduction to the firm, a presentation on the UK legal market and a career as a City lawyer, alongside various skills sessions and opportunities to network with trainees and representatives from the firm. The “speed-networking” session with the trainees was a particular highlight of the day. We quizzed the trainees about their life at Reed Smith. They gave honest and invaluable advice and shared their experiences, giving us a feel for what life as a Reed Smith trainee is like. From attending the open day, I learnt that, although a law firm’s key focus is to provide the highest quality legal service, it is equally important that the advice is relevant to the client and its needs and provided in a concise and practical manner.
Within a few minutes of meeting graduate recruitment and gathering a sense of the culture at Reed Smith, I knew that it was a place where I would fit in; the culture is welcoming and friendly and people are more than happy to stop and talk. After attending the open day, it was clear that the firm had a fantastic sense of humour alongside an incredible work ethic and a desire to be innovative and successful. The ambition and enthusiasm of the trainees were infectious, and the numerous opportunities to work on such exciting deals for such highly regarded clients made Reed Smith the perfect firm for me.
I followed up the open day by sending an email to thank graduate recruitment for organising such a fantastic, insightful day. I kept in contact with the people I had met during the networking opportunities and I also wrote a small piece for the Reed Smith Newsletter. Attending the open day was a huge advantage when it came to interviewing for a vacation scheme as I was familiar with the graduate recruitment team and the office, helping ease the nerves; I also used the information I had gained from the day to give depth to my interview answers.
I was offered a training contract at Reed Smith and will be joining the firm in August 2015.
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