"During my vacation scheme at Debevoise in London I sat in the litigation department. I always had an interest in litigation work and had noticed the rapid expansion of the litigation department of the firm, and this, coupled with its pristine reputation, made me want to apply to find out more. I was instantly seduced by the atmosphere of the firm, where people always had the time to greet us and have a chat. The small intake of vacation scheme students made it possible to really get to know our mentors and the lawyers in our departments. I was fascinated by the high profile cases lawyers around me were working on, and I was thrilled to be given the responsibility to input my own work when needed. I gained a better understanding of the importance of pro bono work in the culture of the firm, and witnessed first-hand how Debevoise lawyers assisted the Hackney Legal Advice Clinic. At the end of the two weeks I was convinced this was the challenging but friendly environment I wanted to work in."
—Charlotte Lelong, 2014 Summer Vacation Scheme Student
"Distinguishing between firms to apply for was a difficult task. Debevoise easily satisfied my main requirements – a leading international firm, complex cross-border work, top clients, a small intake, and a challenging training contract – but so did many other firms. Debevoise really stood out from the rest when I met the people. The vacation scheme application process, which consisted of one simple open day, in itself demonstrated that this was a distinctive firm which valued individuals. Everybody was more than friendly – they were enthusiastic, interesting and actively had character. Yes, everybody was also smart and diligent, but Debevoise was equally – if not more - concerned about me and my personality.
I sat in the finance department during my vacation scheme and worked for many individuals in addition to my assigned mentor. I was encouraged to seek work elsewhere so I ended up working with lawyers from different departments too. I spent time comparing refinancing transaction documents, drafting client letters, researching contract law for a partner who had been asked to speak at a conference, drafting a research note on a recent legal development in SME lending regulation, researching merger control rules in foreign jurisdictions, managing documents, drafting emails to the investors of a client’s fund and much more. I also contributed to some of the firm’s international and local pro-bono initiatives. I researched charity law and drafted part of a letter of advice for an international client who was looking to create a UK charity. I also attended an UnLtd meeting and drafted a letter of advice on potential business structures for the client’s social enterprise. Coincidentally, during a vacation scheme at another firm, I also worked with Debevoise lawyers at the Dalston Pop-Up Clinic. It further demonstrated how much Debevoise is committed to pro-bono work.
Debevoise’s vacation scheme was more challenging than the other four firms I had been to. However, although I was encouraged to be pro-active and use my initiative, my tasks were always given with context and I always felt comfortable asking questions if necessary. I quickly built relationships of trust with lawyers of all experiences who provided me with repeat work of increasing difficulty. I really liked being in control of my own development, if only for two weeks. Debevoise also organised many events for us to meet members of the firm outside the office, including an open-air film at Somerset House and a cooking class. Anything food related was a winner for me. Indeed, I was delighted to be asked at least once every day to have meals and coffee breaks with various lawyers that I met. Getting to know everyone in a more relaxed context confirmed that I would complement the firm’s strong identity.
Debevoise treated me as a trainee in order to make my vacation scheme experience reflective of their training contract. Consequently, it was an easy decision for me to choose Debevoise over the other training contract offers that I received. Joining Debevoise would ensure playing a vital role in the firm’s high quality work, learning from leading solicitors who take an interest in my professional development and working in a close-knit office filled with lively characters.
—Sam Oladeinde, 2014 Summer Vacation Scheme Student