Billy Fraser: My vacation scheme experience
During my research into vacation schemes, I was particularly keen on applying to firms which had specialisms in dispute resolution, real estate, corporate and private client. Gowling WLG has a strong presence in all these areas and has one of the country's largest real estate groups. Real estate is an area I was particularly keen to explore and it was an excellent opportunity to get some experience in this field. I was also attracted by the firm's expanding international presence which includes offices in Singapore, China, the Middle East and across Europe.
My first week was in the real estate finance team and I was involved in a variety of research-based tasks, including the refinancing of a block of flats. One of my assignments was to research all the leaseholds and put my findings into a report for a partner. He was pleased with my work and said that he would use it to inform the next stages of the project, which was great feedback.
I also did some work for a private client looking at US residencies for tax purposes and tax strategies around the world. A real highlight was sitting in on a deal completion. It made me want to get involved in this type of work and opened my eyes to the huge number of complexities in getting big deals through. The partner working on this had started it in November, so he was very relieved when it was finally signed off.
There were lots of social events throughout my time at Gowling WLG. Drinks on the first night were a great ice breaker and a chance to speak to others on the vacation scheme, as well as trainees and partners. We also took part in a go-karting event – it was really exciting to be in a competitive environment and was a great chance to bond with everyone. The experience was great – unfortunately I haven't found a secret talent! On our penultimate evening the firm took the students out for dinner at Smiths of Smithfield, which was fantastic.
I left the vacation scheme with a deeper understanding of Gowling WLG. It was an exciting challenge to navigate my way around complex areas of law and I realised that part of a lawyer's job is to take complicated ideas and make them coherent. The scheme was certainly great exposure to what life as a trainee would be like.
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