Life as a Summer Student: James Harrison
What was your experience at Burness Paull?
I was accepted onto the Burness Paull summer placement programme during the final year of my accelerated LL.B and will commence my traineeship in 2022.
The summer placement was unique in that it took place during the height of the Covid-19 pandemic. It would have been impossible to run the original 6-week scheme but Burness Paull adapted and restructured the programme into a week-long virtual placement. Despite new and unfamiliar circumstances, I was able to enjoy working and socialising with a variety of people across the firm.
Seminars were held on the first day and gave me an introductory overview of the values, systems and structure of the firm. On the second day I was introduced to my division, my trainee buddy and my division supervisor. Each summer student is assigned a buddy and supervisor from their division, and mine were friendly and welcoming, becoming primary points of contact and always happy to answer questions and offer guidance throughout the experience.
I spent the week working in the Banking & Funds division and was exposed to work from across the practice area. I gained experience of the practical aspects of Banking & Funds work alongside a better understanding of the economic background and factors that inform the field.
Alongside the working opportunities there were a ton of events that allowed me to experience the social side of working at the firm. A big part of Burness Paull’s culture is creating a high-performance work environment whilst encouraging individuality, sociality and a healthy work-life balance. Events organised for summer students, trainees and within my division gave me a good chance to get to know the people that comprise the firm and let them get to know me in kind.
What are your tips for a successful vacation scheme?
- Communicate and Integrate
As a summer student you will not be expected to have all the relevant knowledge. The key to making good contributions to your division is enthusiasm and consistent communication regarding your current tasks and timeframes. Making yourself easy to work with both maximises the variety of experiences you can get involved with and leaves a great impression for a future traineeship.
- Bring your Individuality
You have been selected for the summer programme not only due to your legal proficiency but for your individual qualities and characteristics. As exciting as it is to enter a high-energy business and learn how it functions, remember that everyone there is keen to meet you and get to know your personality, so don’t be afraid to let that shine through.