Chloe Birkett's Brand Ambassador & Vacation Scheme Experience at Bird & Bird

Name: Chloe Birkett Degree: Law with Year Abroad Role: Future Trainee Solicitor at Bird & Bird

I studied LLB Law with a Year Abroad at the University of Leicester, and I graduated in July 2018, completing my Bird & Bird Vacation Scheme the following week. I lived in Sydney, Australia, for a year as part of my degree, I was involved with Leicester’s Legal Advice Clinic and undertook French language classes to improve my speaking ability. I first became involved with Bird & Bird when I returned to complete my third year at Leicester. I became a Brand Ambassador for the firm and worked closely with the graduate recruitment team to promote Bird & Bird on campus and engage with prospective applicants. We also used social media and hosted a ‘pop-up’ event where students could learn more, whilst during term-time, we were on campus to give any advice and to help people that were interested in Bird & Bird. This was an excellent way for me to really get to know the firm, what it valued, and the work that they did.

Vacation Scheme Application Process

The application process at Bird & Bird is straightforward and well supported. I made a written application, completed a video interview and then attended an assessment day. The assessment day consisted of a partner interview which lasted around 45 mins, a group task and a written exercise. We were made to feel at ease and that brought out the best in everyone, helping us relax and demonstrate our capabilities to the assessors. We heard back very quickly, and I was delighted when I learned I had been offered a place on the scheme.

The Vacation Scheme

I thoroughly enjoyed my vacation scheme as it gave me first-hand experience of the firm and confirmed my already very high expectations. I was sat in the dispute resolution department and my supervisor was excellent. He explained in great detail all my tasks, supported me and answered any questions I had. My favourite aspect of the scheme was that I was given ‘live’ work. Knowing that the research I was completing would be helpful to the lawyers in the future motivated me to produce high quality work and demonstrate my capability. The most exciting task I was given involved hand-serving a statutory demand for payment on a business, which I had to travel to North London to deliver. It was a great feeling being trusted with such an important job and highlights that Bird & Bird really does like to give responsibility to trainees.

Throughout the week we had information sessions organised which were highly informative. We were fortunate enough to meet David Kerr, global CEO, and spend a lunch with him learning more about the firm and having the opportunity to ask questions. It was a real privilege that he took time out of his busy diary to do so. We had a session on confidentiality and compliance and learned more about ‘first impressions’ and improving communication. These were all very relevant to our week and helped enhance our learning.

There were also several social activities to get involved with. I signed up to netball and touch rugby, whilst fellow vac-schemers attended cricket and football. There were also drinks and dinner on the first night to break the ice and get to know everyone in a social setting, whilst on the Friday our scheme coincided with the monthly ‘Embrace’ network drinks. This is the BAME network which the firm recently established, and they were hosting a Caribbean themed evening with matching cocktails and decorations. It was fabulous! Furthermore, all these social activities helped us to network with team members and learn more about the reality and day to day lives of trainees and associates.

Advice

My best piece of advice for the week would be to be prepared. Whether that is preparing to complete all your work on time with a check list, preparing questions for one of the information sessions or preparing yourself for the mock trial, it will help you perform better. It will make you feel more confident and come across as a capable candidate the firm will want to hire. Don’t be afraid to ask questions, it will help you learn more and get to know everyone around you. Finally, make sure you approach the week with enthusiasm and make the most of every opportunity that is presented. The vacation scheme for me confirmed that the firm was the only one I wanted to be at, and I am very proud to now be able to say that I am a future trainee solicitor at Bird & Bird.

Chloe Birkett