This is Charlie Lane - Future Trainee of Covington

Hear Charlie's experience of the Vacation Scheme at Covington


Charlie Lane

Trainee Solicitor

Covington & Burling LLP

Why did you apply to Covington vacation scheme?

There are three main reasons why I applied to Covington. First is the firm’s unique practice mix stemming from Covington’s regulatory expertise. We are facing an increasingly regulated world, and thus training at Covington would provide the opportunity to be at the forefront of novel and challenging legal work. Second, is Covington’s focus on pro bono matters. Covington lawyers consistently bill some of the highest average pro bono hours per lawyer when compared to other UK and US firms. For example, the London office often works with Kids in Need of Defense (KIND). This focus appealed to me as someone aiming to make meaningful and positive impacts throughout my legal career. Finally, the importance of collegiality at Covington was of great significance to me. Collegiality makes Covington a great place to work and train whilst simultaneously providing clients seamless access to relevant experts across the firm.

What was the application and assessment process like?

The application process begins with a written application form, moving to a group exercise and interview with two senior lawyers. It is essential to explain how your experiences and firm research have led you to apply to Covington. I would recommend considering topics that are areas of personal interest. I discussed my dissertation research into the law and green hydrogen at various points along the process, linking this to Covington’s Project Development & Finance practice. I found approaching the group exercise quite daunting, given it was the first I had encountered. However, having good commercial awareness makes it much easier to provide points of value to any discussions. The final interview is very conversational and thus provides another opportunity to convey your interests and reasons for applying to the firm.

How was your experience of the vacation scheme?

The two-week vacation scheme provided the perfect insight into life as a trainee at Covington. You can select two practice areas, and within each one, you have the opportunity to assist with real work for real clients. For example, within Project Development & Finance, I worked on drafting part of a novation agreement. These tasks simulated the high levels of responsibility trainees are provided through the training contract. The social events on the vacation scheme also make connecting with individuals across the firm feel natural. My favourite was the Diversity and Inclusion evening at London Shuffle Club.

How did you find the Covington culture?

The culture at Covington is truly friendly. Throughout the scheme, I found that I could approach anyone within the firm, and they were incredibly receptive to discussions and questions, also assisting where I had questions on any work I was doing. It was invaluable to experience this first-hand, as I can now enter my training contract with the knowledge my supervisors and the broader firm will provide support within a positive and motivating environment.

What are your tips for those who wish to apply for a Covington vacation scheme in the future?

The most important tip would be to attend any event that allows you to interact with people at the firm. Covington offers Insight Days and its Insight Series, which provide access to several sessions whereby lawyers discuss their respective practice areas and time at the firm. When the moment came to write my application, I could then convey why I was interested in Covington with clarity and supporting examples, beyond information about the firm typically found online. Finally, I would encourage anyone who applies to be their authentic self. The firm is interested in you as a person, and I found that being myself allowed me to make a meaningful application and subsequently gain a true insight into how I would feel training at Covington.

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