My Vacation Scheme Experience: Nabarro (CMS) Interviews

At the time of applying to Nabarro’s vacation scheme I was studying my LPC outside of London (Nabarro is now part of CMS). Given the fact that I was very behind on the recruitment timeline and that Nabarro sends all future trainees to a specified law school, I was unsure of my chances of success. However, throughout every stage of the recruitment process, I was made to feel extremely welcome and reassured that everyone had an equal chance and would be judged on merit.

I was fortunate to be offered a place on Nabarro’s three-week vacation scheme and I can honestly say that I thoroughly enjoyed this demanding yet extremely rewarding experience.

From day one the amount of time, effort and organisation that Nabarro invest in their vacation scheme is apparent. It is meticulously planned to ensure everyone obtains the maximum benefit. The graduate recruitment team put together a timetable in advance, which includes a range of events from breakfast briefing meetings (with incredible fry ups) to a pub quiz and a partner dinner.

This provides the chance to meet people from all levels within the firm, as well be extremely well fed! Ultimately this gives you the opportunity to decide whether you could see yourself as part of Nabarro, which is something very important to bear in mind. As much as this vacation scheme is central to Nabarro’s recruitment process, it is a two-way process and should be used to determine whether or not Nabarro is right for you.

Three weeks, not two!

One of the main advantages of the Nabarro vacation scheme is that the length allows you to gain a genuine feel for what the firm is like, but also whether a career as a City trainee would be suitable for you.

Three weeks is long enough for you to really get to know Nabarro’s culture, the type of work you’ll get involved in and the people that work there. This vacation scheme essentially offers you a trial run and provides a realistic snapshot of what it would be like to be a trainee at Nabarro.

During the scheme, you will face the real life demands of balancing challenging work with a packed social calendar of events. For me, it was this combination that really set Nabarro’s vacation scheme above the others I secured.

Given the fact Nabarro recruits 100% of its trainees from the vacation scheme, I expected a sense of fierce competition amongst the other scheme students – something along the lines of The Apprentice! However, this was not the case at all. Although there was a serious element, as we were all trying to secure the ultimate goal, this did not detract from a feeling of comradeship on the social events. These ranged from bowling and karaoke to self-arranged trips to the pub after work.

This gave everyone the chance to get to know each other socially. Everyone on the scheme was friendly and sociable, which made the three weeks enjoyable and great fun. I was fortunate enough to leave the scheme with genuine friendships, some of whom I get to start my training contract with in two years’ time!

Part of one department

Another unique element of this vacation scheme is that you spend the entire period in a department of your choice. Personally, I feel this is far more beneficial than rotating between departments, where you can sometimes only just get to scratch the surface. Instead, you get the chance to settle into a department and really get to grips with the discipline.

The quality of work and level of responsibility I was given was far beyond my expectations. I attended client meetings, sat in on conference calls and drafted a range of legal documents. I was always given real, live-work that was time-sensitive and felt that my contributions were beneficial to the team, rather than being set tasks purely to keep me occupied.

Although the work is by no means easy, my associate supervisor and trainee buddy were a great form of support. By the end of the three weeks, I truly felt that I was part of the team and as if I already worked there! Thankfully I was in the fortunate position of being offered a training contract, which I was delighted to accept.

I really cannot stress enough the importance of the two-sided approach of vacation schemes. How a law firm structures their vacation scheme and the events they include really does say a lot about the type of firm it is.

So, if you see yourself working within a firm that has a genuinely friendly, approachable and inclusive culture where you will receive high-quality work with excellent opportunities then I would definitely recommend you apply to Nabarro to witness it for yourself.

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