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Edinburgh Law School students reflect on their work experience with Slaughter and May

Wed 15 November 2023

Old College exterior

In June 2023, the winners of the competition hosted by Edinburgh Law School and the law firm Slaughter and May got to participate in a week-long placement with Slaughter and May’s Knowledge and Innovation team. In this article, Celene Sandiford and Holli Towers reflect on their time at Slaughter and May. 

Celene Sandiford 

Celene Sandiford

The most useful part about the placement is that you get fantastic insight into how a firm operates. We were shown around every department, given presentations on what each department does and how their roles interconnect to the greater functioning of the firm. Throughout the week we were given small tasks by each department, but the real challenge was a group project which we worked the entire week on. The group project involved re-designing Slaughter and May’s ‘Collaborate’ programme which we had to present to the K & I department at the end of the week. 

Everyone we met was very generous with their time and offered us one-to-one meetings to discuss specific areas of interest to us. There was a real sense of pride when they spoke of the firm and their contributions to it. I was most impressed by the fact that every department we met with, from the finance department to the knowledge management, had spent the time thinking about how they could innovate their workings through technology and wanted to hear our views on it! 

There were several highlights across the week. I found the presentation on improving accessibility through visual contracts and legal documents really interesting. I also really enjoyed the cakes and tea with University of Edinburgh alumni, it was so inspiring to meet Edinburgh alumni across all areas of the firm and certainly made me proud to be a student here. 

The placement was really useful and provided key insight into the culture of the firm, the day-to-day workings and more broadly what firms are doing to keep up to date with the latest technologies. As a student at the University of Edinburgh you are in a unique position to be offered all kinds of opportunities and I would urge other students to take every possibility presented. The opportunities are so useful for guiding future choices, and I am grateful to the staff and to firms like Slaughter and May for creating these.

Holli Towers

Holli Towers

This work experience has shaped my future career ideals as it allowed me to see the different potential paths that my master's degree has given me. The week I spent in London at Slaughter and May was incredible. Sitting with the Knowledge and Innovation team gave me a new perspective of law firms and new career paths I had not considered before. 

The firm ensured we were able to meet with all the departments on the business side and each team gave us a meaningful assignment to complete that furthered our understanding of law firms and why Knowledge and Innovation teams are so essential to their continued growth. I really enjoyed the depth and range in which we were encouraged to interact with the firm's various programmes and departments. 

My favourite task, though, was given to us by the Knowledge and Innovation team. It centred around legal innovation/technology and how firms try to incorporate new methods to improve their functionality. This was such a fun and useful exercise as I was able to think and incorporate professionally many ideas that my master's programme had only introduced academically. 

Overall, this was an amazing experience and I am so thankful to both the University of Edinburgh and Slaughter and May for providing us the ability to engage with legal innovation in a practical and meaningful way. I will always be grateful for this opportunity. Thank you!