I am now reaching the end of my time on the DLA Piper Privileged Access Scholarship Programme, and I write this now having finished the Spring Vacation Scheme, and having received a Training Contract Offer to work at DLA Piper.
Prior to coming to university, I had only experienced high-street law firms. DLA Piper was the first global law firm that I had exposure to, and what immediately struck me was the down-to-earth and genuinely friendly nature of the DLA representatives - Heidi Thomas and Andrew Davies. I had never considered wanting to work for a commercial firm, and they really opened my eyes to the potential of working on exciting deals, alongside getting involved in Business Development and Pro Bono work.
I applied for the Programme and gained a place on the Privileged Access Scheme. This was fantastic in enabling me to meet more DLA people, in both social contexts and master classes. This really gave me the opportunity to see if everyone was like the representatives I had met - and they definitely were! This really reaffirmed by desire to get involved with the firm, as the international work they engage with is so exciting and the opportunities for personal development (such as going on secondments) are unparalleled.
The masterclasses were extremely useful in providing an insight into the practical application of law that you have studied. They are so beneficial in actually giving you an idea if you would like the area of law in practice - as it differs so much from what you are studying! The contract law masterclass in particular was invaluable as it addressed both areas of law that we had studied from day one, and interesting, topical areas of law - such as looking at the recent M&S case which we had studied at university and that related to whether a particular term relating to M&S's lease was implied in the contract. It also complemented my studies in providing relevant information and application, that helped prepare for my group feedback sessions.
The programme enabled me to establish links with a truly fantastic firm of normal, ambitious, supportive people. It really motivated me to apply for the position of 'Brand Manager' for DLA Piper at the University of York. I was successful in my application - and I am sure that DLA getting to know me through the Programme was imperative to my success!
I have just finished the Spring Vacation Scheme at DLA Piper, and I am still enjoying DLA as much as I did in first year. So much so, that I will be working for the firm post completion of university and the LPC!
Ben Payne is a second-year Law student at the University of York. He is taking part in DLA Piper's International Scholarship Scheme as a Privileged Access student.