SJ Berwin was 'wrong' to ask summer student to do an all-nighter

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  • If it got her the TC it was worth doing!

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  • Surely this gives her an insight into the world of city law? It doesn't exactly sound as if they had her over a barrel.

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  • Where did this story come from? The student apparently worked "willingly". Did she complain to The Lawyer, or is this just a story released by the firm to get SJB's name in The Lawyer, appearing as a caring and compassionate organisation having made a minor mistake this time, and mentioning (by the way) that they were dealing with a big international arbitration?

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  • Student does incidentally late night on salary of £300/week, likely having been wined and dined on the other nights during the scheme - not a big deal. There are hundreds of law students out there doing unpaid 'work experience' (albeit probably 9-5) for months on end at law firms, where the chance of a training contract at the end is minimal/illusory.

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  • I don't see the problem with doing an all-nighter when on vac-scheme. I did a vac-scheme at SJ Berwin in 2005 and did an all-nighter in the corporate department. The partner and senior associate were really grateful and impressed and took me out for lunch on completion, not to mention the fact that I was then offered a TC there. At the end of the day, you want to set a good impression and get an idea of what it's like to work at a city firm, hence I don't see the big deal.
    As a qualified corporate lawyer in Dubai I do all-nighters sometimes and it is better for a vac-schemer to accept a TC with their eyes open rather than being painted a rosy picture of what a firm is like, only to have that image shattered when you start a TC there, which is what happenned to me when I turned down SJ Berwin to accept a TC at another firm which painted a rosier (and very false) image of their culture and people.

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  • I don't really see what the big deal is about this. Being a corporate lawyer in practice does in fact involve that sort of thing. Some people hate it, some thrive on it - and it will have helped her make up her mind which camp she's in.
    Generally speaking, vac students are at a firm for a couple of weeks and the firm shows them a good time - a couple of trips, free drinks etc. If there's something like this that also happens, it probably gives them a better insight into what the job is actually like... and it's no bad thing.

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  • I am so jealous of her! I would do that more than once during my vac scheme just to impress the people......

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  • Get over it. We all have to do it. Vac students shouldn't be lulled into a false sense of security.

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  • Well done to The Lawyer for a rubbish story. If the student did it willingly, without fuss and did a good job then I'm sure she would have been thanked heavily and no doubt offered a TC for her commitment. No individual wanting a training contract in this situation would have complained to anyone, in case their chances were jeopardised. So all in all, it Looks like this story has been pulled out of thin air and judging by SJ berwins comment, they aren't that fussed either.

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  • Some of the comments on here are beyond idiotic. A friend of mine who was at the firm at the time told me she was in floods of tears. That doesn't sound like someone who was there willingly, does it?
    And yes, plenty of people at law firms work all nighters regularly. But that doesn't mean it is automatically part of the job. There are many more excellent lawyers around the country who don't work beyond tea time. That does not make them less deserving of their salaries.
    Many of these comments just fuel the whole 'it's more than a job' cult that firms rely on to squeeze as much value from juniors and as high as possible fees from clients in order to pad their PEP.
    The thing is, being a lawyer is Just. A. Job. I think it's worth reminding a lot of people that on a regular basis.
    This kind of behaviour towards someone who had no idea what she was letting herself in for is unacceptable, and the fact that it's happened to one or two people before her does not in any way excuse it.

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