My name is Kehinde Oyebola. I graduated from the University of Nottingham with a first-class degree in History in 2019. I was a spring vacation scheme candidate at Norton Rose Fulbright (NRF) in April 2021. The vacation scheme gave me the opportunity to experience a firm that is renowned for its exceptional work and inclusive culture. I was delighted to accept my training contract offer following the scheme and I look forward to joining the firm in 2023.
I applied for a vacation scheme at NRF because of my interest in projects and energy work. I knew that NRF’s high rankings in this area and emerging markets would provide me with the best opportunity to further delve into my interest in this practice. My interest in projects and energy work is also linked to my interest in global work and international opportunities. I am of Nigerian heritage and I studied Mandarin Chinese at A-level, so I always had a desire to broaden my international outlook through my training contract. This made a career at NRF an amazing fit, as the firm’s global network of 50 offices differentiates the firm from its competitors.
The week-long scheme took place virtually via Zoom and on Forage. Having completed a vacation scheme in person in 2019, I was very impressed with how NRF managed to capture the crucial elements of an in-person scheme. Despite not being able to be in the office, we were able to undertake a variety of typical trainee tasks which took the form of three assessments. Some tasks included proofreading, drafting, and looking at a project finance transaction. I found the tasks really engaging and reflective of the variety of work I could complete as a future trainee at the firm, and was able to schedule in additional chats with my trainee buddy and associate mentor so that we could go through what I had learnt on the assessments and what I found challenging. This highlighted to me that the firm has a healthy working environment where I can learn and develop both personally and professionally.
When I was making applications, I was particularly drawn to the friendly and inclusive culture at NRF. Prior to the scheme starting, I received a call from one of the firm’s graduate recruitment partners. This was an invaluable opportunity to get advice and insights from such a senior member of the firm. In fact, my biggest takeaway from the scheme was that NRF values its people as its greatest asset. Diversity, social mobility and access to opportunities have always been core values for me. The diversity & inclusion presentation highlighted to me the active role that senior members of the firm are playing to increase BAME representation and retention at all levels of the firm. I was able to schedule meetings with the Vice Co-Chair of Origins (NRFs BAME network) and the Corporate Social Responsibility Manager and talk about the work I do with Women in the City African and Caribbean Network (WCAN), a diversity platform.
We also attended a few virtual social events during the scheme! These were a great opportunity to get to know the other vacation schemers and Graduate Recruitment Team in a more relaxed setting. We had a group painting class where we (attempted!) to paint the famous ‘The Scream' by Edvard Munch and also a pub-style quiz. I was really happy that Graduate Recruitment had scheduled these events, as both socials were great fun despite the virtual element.
Ultimately, I would thoroughly recommend applying for NRF’s vacation scheme if you are looking for a firm which provides the best of both worlds: excellent training and work alongside a supportive and inclusive working environment. My key piece of advice for future applicants would be to be confident and reach out to current members of the firm to gain a better insight into what life at NRF is like.