After securing a vacation scheme with Shearman & Sterling, Saloni, a Bright Network member, kindly shared her experience and some advice on the application process.
Why did you choose this firm and this role?
The relatively small size of the trainee intake was one of the first things that marked out this firm for me. I really wanted to find a firm where I would be given a lot of responsibility, and quickly. Attending a Vacation Scheme confirmed this. There were lots of opportunities to get involved with substantive work, despite being a summer participant, and this made me feel valued. The international work of the firm was another key attraction, particularly the breadth of their work in emerging economies which is an area I am very interested in. Finally, the firm has a long history of ‘firsts’, setting precedents and having a flexible approach; it was this entrepreneurial dynamic that really made me choose Shearman over other firms.
What was the toughest part of the application process? And your favourite part?
The toughest part of the application process was the initial online form. With tight word limits I had to think carefully about which information I wanted to prioritise, but also how to convey my points succinctly enough. Ironically, one of my favourite parts of the application process was the assessments during the vacation scheme. My interviewers created a very relaxed atmosphere so I enjoyed conversing with them and sharing my opinions.
Were you surprised by anything in the process?
I think I was most surprised (but pleasantly) by the truly collegiate atmosphere of the firm. People at all levels made the time to speak to you, but also to each other, and this non-hierarchical structure was definitely something that distinguished the firm for me.
What three top tips would you give to graduates applying now?
- Spend time on your application form. It is too easy to underestimate how competitive this initial application needs to be, but also it may form the basis of your interview so use it to your advantage and include points you want to talk further about.
- Be yourself. You want to find the firm that’s the right fit for you, and the only way you will do this is by being true to yourself.
- Research the firm. Whilst firms may all look very similar on the outside, you will soon realise that they can differ greatly. Go further than website or brochure research and speak to people who have worked at the firm, or read articles they have written; this will give you an extra insight.