Vacation scheme diary: Week One

I arrived at Berwin Leighton Paisner (BLP) on Monday, a mixture of nerves and excitement, and with a list of endless questions on my mind. Will they like me? What if I make a mistake? What if I’m just ignored?

I’ve chosen to sit in EU & Competition this week, as it is relatively new legal territory that I don’t know much about and I think that it ties in quite nicely with my English & French Law dual degree.

After having been introduced to the department, my trainee supervisor Carl presents my first task – a research note that goes to the heart of Competition Law, as an ongoing project throughout the week. What seemed at first to be relatively straightforward took me most of the day to break into and make any progress.

The task involved conducting some research into merger control – what it is, how legislation works etc. I then put together a table looking at merger control thresholds in different countries. This table was sent to a partner to look at and will ultimately end up on the BLP intranet as an internal research source. I was therefore really pleased to be contributing to something ’real’ from the outset of my placement. Carl also set this research task in context and took the time to explain how it related to the various cases that the department is working on, which helped considerably.

The next day the department gradually opened up to me, with several associates and senior associates eager to hear how I was getting along and going beyond a mere exchange of pleasantries, into a full-blown conversation about their experiences on a day-to-day basis. I could see that they really enjoyed their work and their excitement and enthusiasm turned out to be much more encouraging than I expected.

After a busy day filled with educational workshops organised by the firm and more challenging tasks, we all enjoyed a well-deserved rest – the firm treated us to an evening of bowling, which was the perfect way to unwind and socialise with fellow vac schemers and the trainees…I won’t mention the bowling scores – in my defence, I haven’t been in a very long time!

I went home elated and looking forward to the rest of the two weeks.

Firas Albani is in his second year studying English Law and French Law at King’s College London.