Before I applied for Macfarlanes’ First Year Insight Day, I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do after university. I was, however, interested in the idea of commercial law. Knowing Macfarlanes was one of the top firms in the City, I thought it’d be a good idea to get an initial insight into the firm and also the industry as a whole. I sent off my application and after a short telephone interview, I was invited to attend the insight day.
During the morning, we were split into groups of four or five and we took part in a negotiation exercise. This would prove to be useful preparation for the vacation scheme assessment day the following year, not least because, unlike other firm's insight days, our negotiation was monitored and we were given feedback on our performance. Then, still in our groups, we had speed networking sessions, in which we spent ten minutes chatting to, a trainee, a solicitor and a partner. I was struck by just how candid and down-to-earth people at the firm were – they were happy to answer our questions and were keen to ask questions of us too, even though we were just undergraduates who were there for the day!
After lunch the graduate recruitment team delivered a presentation on applications to us, with tailored personal advice to help us improve in time for the vacation scheme the next year. We spent the rest of the afternoon shadowing solicitors in a particular practice area. I was in litigation: my trainee and his supervisor made me feel really welcome and I was able to work on an on-going case.
I attended insight schemes and open days at other firms, too. But it was the exposure to real work and to solicitors across practice areas and at different levels that really impressed me. Having that first-hand experience was invaluable when it came to applications and interviews the following year, but it also made for a really rewarding and memorable day – one that helped me decide that commercial law definitely was the right career for me.
George attended our 2016 First Year Insight Day, 2017 Easter vacation scheme and joined us as a trainee solicitor in September 2020.
Knowing Macfarlanes was one of the top firms in the City, I thought it’d be a good idea to get an initial insight into the firm.