A week in a life of a vacation scheme student – Week Two, Toby Clarke - Boodle Hatfield

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24 Jul 2023

A week in a life of a vacation scheme student – Week Two, Toby Clarke

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Jenny Sanghera View profile
4 min read

Each summer we welcome six students to join us for a two-week period for our Vacation Scheme. The annual event enables the candidates to get an insight into working at Boodle Hatfield and gauge what a training contract may look like. 2023 vacation scheme student, Toby Clarke looks back at his second week of the vacation scheme and summarises what stood out to him.

After an exceptional first week, I was very excited to begin the second and final week which promised to bring new challenges and experiences. In our first week we were given the time to complete a case study set by each department, some of these case studies were previous issues the firm had dealt with, so it gave us a real insight into the breadth of work the firm does. This week we had a session scheduled with each department to go through our thoughts on the case studies which gave us an opportunity to show our research skills, as well as the knowledge we had picked up over the scheme. It was also fascinating seeing how the members of the departments would have approached the situations, and how this compared to what we thought.

Furthermore, I was fortunate enough to be sat in the Private Client and Tax department for the second week and was supported by my excellent supervisor, Jessica Woollard. Like everyone at Boodle Hatfield, she was incredibly welcoming and was also patient enough to answer my multitude of questions! Sitting in the same room as my supervisor really helped, not just for helping with any queries but also it enhanced my knowledge and wider understanding by listening to her interactions with other lawyers and clients on matters. Before going on the vacation scheme I had not experienced the contentious side of Private Client, however after sitting in the department for a week I found that it was an area which was extremely interesting due to the variety of situations and issues that can arise.

On Tuesday, the Private Client and Tax department had their monthly New Law Meeting which I was lucky enough to go along to. Members of the team gave updates on any new legislation, case law or proposals. This made it really intriguing as I watched many of the partners and associates going back to back discussing these matters in depth and relating it to how it will specifically impact the clients the firm has.

It really stood out to me just how friendly everyone was. Day to day anyone walking past the office I was sitting in would pop in, introduce themselves and have a chat with me. Even Andrea Zavos, the Senior Partner, who I can imagine was very busy, still took the time to come talk to me. Partners choosing to take the time to talk to us vacation schemers was a really nice surprise and is something that is unique to only a few firms. It really displayed the non-hierarchal structure the firm had achieved.

Tuesday night, myself and a couple of the other vacation schemers played football for the firm in its weekly 5-a-side league. Whilst the score may be best forgotten (sadly we did not even score a goal), it was still thoroughly enjoyable and was a great avenue for socialising with other members of the firm that we had not had the opportunity to meet yet. After the game we went to get the traditional celebratory shandy (or consolatory in our case), which gave us a good opportunity to spend time with members of the firm in a more informal manner.

Wednesday night, the vacation schemers, trainees and HR team all went out for the final social event of the scheme at Flight Club. Although we still had one day left, it was still a fantastic way to end the scheme and it gave us all an opportunity to bond with each other even more. 

On the final day, we were tasked with presenting a RFP Pitch in pairs to a panel including two partners and the Business Development team, all of which posed as prospective clients. At first what appeared a very daunting task actually turned out to be one of the highlights of the scheme as it was made to be a very friendly atmosphere. It took many of us to unfamiliar waters, but it helped draw out skills I am sure not everyone knew they had, and therefore was a great learning experience.

Want to find out more about training at Boodle Hatfield? Visit www.boodlehatfield.com/trainees/ to find out more.

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