A huge thank you to this candidate who shared this advice after completing Weil's virtual vacation scheme: General Tips Be yourself. Vacation schemes are about the firm seeing if they would want to work with you but also for you to see if you would want to work at the firm. Neither assessment can be properly made if you are not being yourself. It would also be very difficult to keep up a persona throughout the whole scheme. Firms are not looking for robots. Set up regular Zoom meetings with your supervisor and trainee buddy. They can give you a great insight into the firm and it is likely that they will have already allocated time to talk to you so you can have more in-depth conversations. Do not feel like you need to set up calls with everyone in the office. Have calls with people who you have genuine questions for. This means that you can have more focused and helpful conversations. When setting up calls, always establish: time, date, method and who is calling who. For example, ‘I will call your mobile number at 1pm on X date’. This avoids confusion. The most important people to impress are your supervisor and your trainee buddy. It is best to really impress a small group of people rather than somewhat impressing a large group of people. Remember that the other vacation scheme students are not your competition. Focus on doing your best- you cannot control what anyone else is doing. Showing that you are a team player is also very important, as lawyers typically work in small teams. Form WhatsApp groups with the other vacation scheme students who you are doing group work with. This way if you are using a company laptop you can communicate with your group even when they are offline, e.g. to set up a meeting with them. You do not need to be the loudest person in the room. Just make sure your contributions are meaningful. Do not be afraid to ask your trainee buddy for help. They are there to help you. Also, you can generally build a good relationship with them because they know what it is like to be in your position. Always remain professional though. Try to get used to the virtual platform you will be using. For instance, I was using Zoom so before the scheme I practiced scheduling meetings and sharing my screen Tech If you are having technical difficulties, contact Grad Rec ASAP. They will do everything they can to help. Do not worry about having technical difficulties. Everyone has struggled with poor internet, etc and it is not a reflection on you at all. It will not affect your chances of securing that TC. I missed ¾ of a couple of talks due to technical difficulties but I still got the TC. If you are having technical issues, see if you can dial-in to the sessions with your phone while using your computer for visuals. That way if you lose your internet connection you can still hear what is going on via your phone. Virtual/ Zoom Sessions Keep your camera on during all Zoom sessions. You have limited opportunity to make an impression now that schemes are virtual so make the most of every opportunity. Do not be afraid to speak when you are waiting for a Zoom talk to start. Introduce yourself and say hello, ask how everyone is doing. On my scheme Grad Rec said it was really nice to see us all chatting while we were waiting. In Zoom talks always appear engaged. Listen actively, i.e. nod and make notes, smile where appropriate, etc. Prepare questions for the sessions. Make sure the questions are not ones you can find the answer to on the internet. Your questions do not need to be technical ‘impressive sounding’ questions, they just need to convey that you are interested in the firm. For example, we had a talk on innovation and I asked how new legal tech is rolled out across the London office. Not an impressive question but it shows that I am interested in how the London office works (and I was genuinely interested in the answer). Generally, keep your mic off when you are not talking. However, during Q&A sessions it can be difficult to get your question in when you are also trying to unmute yourself, i.e. other people will be faster to speak than you or you will forget to unmute yourself. Therefore, in Q&A sessions I left my mic off so I could speak whenever I wanted to without worrying about unmuting. Of course, if you have a lot of background noise you will have to stay on mute when you are not speaking to avoid disrupting the session. Tasks (all of my tasks/ assessments were presentations so this will be skewed towards presentation tips) If you have presentations, use the slide format that the firms use. You can ask your trainee buddy or supervisor to send you a powerpoint produced by the firm and you can replace the information with your own. Note, some firm’s slides will have the title of the presentation at the bottom of every slide so make sure to replace this with your own title. When preparing presentations do not hesitate to reach out to people in the firm who you think can help you. Always approach them with a suggestion and ask them what they think- do not ask questions about your task without having thought about possible answers first. Less is more when it comes to powerpoint slides. Have your key points on each slide as well as enough information for your audience to follow what you are saying. However, most of your information should be within what you say. Presentation is important. Think about using tables and charts to express your points more visually. PRACTICE, PRACTICE, PRACTICE In presentations do not read off your notes. You need to primarily look into the camera but have some notes near you that you can refer to if needed. I laid my notes out on my laptop keyboard so I could quickly glance down if I needed a prompt. Think about your audience. If the presentation is for clients, use less technical jargon than you would use if your presentation was for lawyers (or at least be sure to explain what the jargon means). When using acronyms always explain what they mean when you use them for the first time, regardless of your audience. If you are given a time limit for a presentation, stick to it! On virtual platforms often you can hide the faces of the audience (you can do this on Zoom). Public speaking is difficult for me so I hid everyone’s faces so that when I was presenting all I could see on the screen was the slideshow. This made it easier for me to focus on what I was saying and almost ‘forget’ that I was presenting to people. If you have a Q&A session after your presentation it is not about answering the questions correctly, it is about staying calm and coming up with a logical response even if you do not know the answer. For instance, I was asked a question that I did not know the answer to. I said, ‘That’s a good question. I imagine that….’ and then based my answer on what I knew. It may not have been the right answer but it showed that I can stay calm under pressure and think on my feet, which my supervisor appreciated. When speaking to clients, lawyers won’t always know the answer then and there, but it’s about staying level headed and offering up the information you know at the time but saying you can follow up with a more definite answer afterwards. Your supervisor does not expect you to be perfect or a legal genius. They just want to see that you approach tasks logically. Do not feel like you have to take on extra work. If you want to and believe you can complete the work to a high quality then that’s fine but do not feel pressured to do so. Your priority should be completing your original tasks to a high standard. If anyone has anything else to add in this thread, please go ahead!