Internships for mates or clients

Have you ever arranged an internship for a mate or a client? Is this still a done thing?

I remember years ago during an internship at Dentons (i think), there was a girl who attended all of the presentations / events for interns but was doing an ''unofficial' internship for 8 weeks, ours was for 2 weeks, which her father had arranged and he was head of legal for a pension fund.

Another one I remember was at Citigroup. Looking at the interns booklet, everyone in the Investment Banking scheme was from either Oxbridge, LSE, imperial or from a European uni but there was this one person who stuck out like a sore thumb as she was attending a not so great academic institution and she was studying Art / History of Art. I always found it odd but later discovered her father's side of the family once owned a bank (old school money). 

This doesn't happen anymore with the large grad recruiters or is at least not meant to happen, but it still goes , albeit much less than before. Wasn't there a big hoo ha, about a Mischcons senior EP, whose daughter did a vac scheme, then got a 2:2 from somewhere which was far from a RG/Redbrick. 

But lets be honest if you are the EMEA GC at Shell and you ask your panel firm, where you spend £5MM PA in fees, for a VAC Scheme for your son/daughter as a favour, and the response is no, there will be other firms who gladly will.

In even the largest and most politically correct places the unofficial placement is still a thing if it is sufficiently expedient.

I'm sorry Mr GC of British Spaz, but the fact that your company spends over a million on fees just doesn't cut it anymore.  All intern applications are judged entirely on objective merit.  So then, your daughter, describe norks.

  • British Spaz GC's daughter is like an SJW with an ability to induce a chronic headache at 300 yards.
  • Better off with a bit of MILF action.

Definitely still a thing. Where I trained, there were typically 2-3 trainees in every intake who got their jobs through blatant nepotism. 

That wasn't a particularly high percentage, granted, and that was over 10 years ago, but I am told those practices are still going strong.

When I finished undergrad 10 years ago there was a guy who was friends with my girlfriend at the time who got several internships and then a training contract based on family connections in the oil industry.

He was a complete imbecile. His plan for his year out between undergrad and the GDL was to ‘learn touch typing’. I thought he was joking until his friend told me afterwards that he was completely serious that he was taking a year out so he could learn touch typing.

He’s no longer a lawyer clearly (just checked is LinkedIn). Even after a brief glance at his linkedin I’ve found a handful of spelling mistakes and grammatical errors - including one in a sentence on his bio about his ‘excellent attention to detail’. 

Can he now touch type, though?

If so, I would say he is goal driven, and knows how to achieve those goals.

When I sat on the trading floor of a bulge bracket IB, I saw a 3 week paid internship on the prop trading desk get arranged in about 10 minutes flat for the son of a FTSE 100 CFO who was doing geography or something at Portsmouth "Uni".

Still happens.

A more egregious example of this at my old firm, which was a top 10 UK firm by revenue, a trainee in the intake was told in 2018 to supervise the 14-year-old daughter of the CEO of a major client for two weeks one summer.

Essentially, the trainee was providing free babysitting. 

Different industry I know but it still happens in the medical world with offspring and offspring of friends of doctors etc getting work experience placements (or they did pre-COVID). 

There’s also a “working class nepotism” with the family of porters etc getting into jobs like reception and low level admin etc without much of a recruitment process. The ambulance service is notorious for it with the relatives of paramedics (especially senior ones) getting jobs in control etc. 

TBF, I shadowed some Drs and nurses back in the day , when doing A levels on the back of my Mum. Nah not for me, too much blood, and so grim in ED. oH and I was shit at science

Until very recently in the plod, you could only be a manager of civilian workers if you were ex-plod. Or a spouse of a plod.

Of course. Been asked on many occasions by clients to have their kids in for informal work experience. 

What’s the problem? You would be stupid to say no.

  • Is that the real Jamie Hamilton?
  • He does read the vomit spewed on here.
  • Not like the fake Jamie/Piers/Matthew after the relaunch.
  • Might send him a picture of mein balloon knot.

Still happens. Fact of life. 

The worst offender: guess who had to babysit a sixth form kid who was a friend of the CIC? Me. 


It still happens, except in the big corporates, where the politically correct brigade have employed armies of consultants at great expense to ensure "social diversity".

Definitely still asked for.

Some law firms and banks/corporates more “commercial“ about it than others.

One of the senior barristers at my set wanted to give pupillage to the daughter of a solicitor who sent him regular work and had more or less guaranteed this chap that it would happen. We only offered one pupillage per year, and while she was a good candidate, she wasn't the best. The rest of the committee refused to let him have his way resulting in a massive row and the senior barrister leaving our set. It was really pleasing to see that most people there wouldn't put up with that sort of nepotism.

I've managed to stamp this out good and proper at our place.  Enjoyed doing it.

He was so indignant about it. I hadn't expected so many others at the set to feel the same way. On paper we looked like a place that asked you which Oxford college you went to on the application form.

I’ve seen some of its downsides in private practice in a law firm, Was met with total indifference when I made the point that it really wasn’t a brilliant idea.

In-house, I’ve seen law firms be open to playing ball on vac schemes and less formal internships for eg offspring of very senior bankers.

Training contract awards (in line with pupillage point above) less common but I’ve no doubt it happens.

Proper difference between a short term vacation scheme / internship / mini vs longer term positions. 


I see the former awash with nepotism, but much fewer in the latter. They stick out like a sore thumb in the latter...

The firm I trained at gave a TC to the son of the senior partner.  The son had failed the LPC and had to retake a couple of modules. Still got his TC.  A couple of years later, the senior partner wanted the firm to give a TC to his other son and was refused.  

I don't understand this from the POV of the parent in these situations.  If your offspring is good enough to become a solicitor, surely its better to let them do so under their own steam and not at a firm where you have influence because there will always be doubts about why they are there. If your offspring is not good enough, then let them do something else ffs.   

" Jamie Hamilton27 Nov 20 20:51

[email protected] if you’d care to drop me the name of the firm and client, jamiestone1"

I hope you're offering a fee to allow you to do this hatchet job?

One of the senior barristers at my set wanted to give pupillage to the daughter of a solicitor who


Wow, he honestly thought he'd get her a  pupillage. A mini pupillage i can understand but this is taking it too far

One of my old firms (large international firm) was littered with relatives of partners, including the senior partner. Top down culture.

It was a bit. But he had that sort of mindset. When he interviewed me for tenancy he asked me about my family background (different times) and was very excited to learn that he knew my Dad from the Chancery Bar. I did wonder whether that was what had clinched it.

i think it's easily understood kimmy. the hardest hurdle is getting a foot in the door, namely the TC. once that's achieved, trainee can move and escape nepotism accusations. 

Getting pupillage for sons / daughter/biggiest clients son,  at your own set has virtually been stamped out at the decent sets .

That said ,I have noticed at least half a dozen tenants at top commercial and civil sets who have been taken on over the last five  years or so, there has been a junior tenant who shares the surname of a current/ former judge , or whose father /mother is a silk in another leading set.

now given the top civil and commercial sets crave academic excellence as the utmost priority  , one wonders how the pupil who has an immediate family member at the Bar/ Judiciary with a standard first or 2:1 got taken on, when all the others had , top 5 1st class finishes , prizes , Top 5 , BCL/LLM finishes ,best papers for x and winner of an international moot or two.

it must be nepotism, but why I ask ? The best sets don’t need to risk the profile of a top set by handing out a pupillage to a run of the mill decent candidate, when there are truly outstanding candidates who got rejected . 

Fountain Court I think it was published a piece , where they had 300 applicants for 4 places . Apparently half at at least a first class Oxbridge/London degree.

The investment banks and PE funds put a stop to this years ago. Far too many HR staff policing the process . And quite rightly to.

I should add I think the crime and family sets are very much more relaxed about this sort of thing .

You really think that Investment Bank and PE Funds stopped this? I don't think so. HR is not going to do / say when a senior bod demands an internship for his best client. 

I think they are fairly rare.  I know quite a lot of people that age as have had 5 children do degrees and know their friends etc. just about all are getting jobs via the published methods (or not getting them - remembering my 1982 applications to 139 firms and 25 interviews here when we had higher unemployment than even today - we had 3m out of work, worst for 50 years).


[Yes, we do know my child 2 was my trainee but that might be as much curse as blessing!]

dash, you can find an exception sure but I maintain it has largely stopped.

i wonder what the cut of is going to be to get a placement? HR surely cannot stop a MD or someone bringing in a 16 or 18 year old for work exp. Sometimes that is all someone needs to stand out of the crowd when apply for grad jobs

dash the big IBanks have several hundred MDs, just like the largest law firms, and not all MD's are the same. Some will have responsibility for two, and others will oversee 200 plus.I agree getting your 16 year old in for two weeks" work experience" is unlikely to cause many brows to be raises.

A bog standard MD, trying to truncate a process for a undergrad seeking a insight placement or 12 week, or 12 month internship at an IB, is going to be very different.

i think it's easily understood kimmy. the hardest hurdle is getting a foot in the door, namely the TC. once that's achieved, trainee can move and escape nepotism accusations. 

I disagree nepotism accusations can be escaped - the assistance with the foot in the door is there on the CV; the assistance may well go further than just a foot in the door; and it's always going to be a problem if the assisted offspring is a bit thick. 


c'mon kimmy. lots of alternative employers won't give a flying f, in the unlikely event they even notice.  It's not as if people look at CVs and think I'll check that surname against the 100s of partner surnames at the firm where candidate Jo Bloggs got a TC

thickness point noted. But let's be honest, many many jobs as a solicitor don't actually require much intellect. 

When you apply to IBanks and the larger PE funds , the form will specifically ask if you are related to ANYONE who works at the firm, or indeed if you know someone and how you know them. Doesn't have to be a MD/Partner, it could be the facilities manager.

I applied to Lehmans , and a senior MD was my landlord. The property was managed by an Agent and I met him once briefly, maybe twice. I got rejected on that basis.

How do you know it was "knowing" him that caused you to be rejected rather than any other reason? Be a bit harsh to reject a candidate beacuse their mum works in the canteen. 

ebitda, this example was about a prospective employer caring about a past employer


i'm curious though, when did you apply to lehmans?

Cryto, I simply asked for feedback from HR.


Diceman, I am not sure what you mean by the first sentence of your latest post.

I remember when we had a girl in for work experience (can't remember if she was a client's daughter or related to a senior partner) and she joined my group for lunch with the lawyer who was looking after her. 

I was excited about some upcoming first class long haul flights I had booked (airmiles saved up over years - it's been economy every time before and since). I said I was worried it might ruin flying in economy for me and end up costing me a lot of money. 

This girl pipes up with "oh we sometimes fly business class, it's really not that bad."

Unpaid for a week or so still happens all the time. For proper schemes with pay that are controlled by HR not so much.

Luck was on your side then. Although I guess it didn't feel that way at the time.

It certainly happened at one lefty London local authority I worked for, notwithstanding the official policy against it:  "This council completely opposes all forms of nepotism and favouritism.  Unless it's people we know, of course."


TBF I did get a mini-pupillage at a top London IP set because my dad's firm (non legal) instructed them on a matter but I never got anything beyond that. 

Even where this is strictly banned I guess there is some sort of sub-rosa reciprocal arrangement with other sets/firms or clients for the top brass i.e. if you give my son an internship I will give your daughter one. 

Not exactly nepotism but Tom O'Riordan (young pups should google) reckoned he could get me a TC at Cadwalader. I pointed out that I wasn't as strong on paper as their usual trainee fodder. Oh, don't worry, there's HR's way and Tom's way came the response. Turned out in fact there was just HR's way.

Seems really harsh to reject someone because of who they rent a flat from. 

I think the formal vac. schemes are pretty hard to swing. Informal work experience is absolutely based on nepotism and I presume HR don't differentiate between the hard-earned 2 week vac. scheme and a law firm vs. the 2 week informal experience foisted on junior associates by a partner trying to keep his client sweet.  

Indeed Dice, but Lehmans European Operation was soon bought by Nomura, who looked to build out their European franchise., and did so almost over night.Said landlord ended up running the show. And Nomura despite what they say, nepotisim is/was rife.

@ AWU, I was flabbergasted at this story, all these things were very easily checkable. Silly thing is at the stage he was in his career, he had no need to do that, and no one would have cared a jot.

Journalists make stories from RoF now. No wonder they’re so despised. 

Jamie I would love to tell you which firm and which client, but that would immediately out me as probably about 15 people in the City.

It's also a story that's two years old so hardly newsworthy now.

The bigger issue I think is firms these days (including my firm unfortunately) that run an informal programme for connections, while at the same time offering competitive vac schemes. While the informal work experience does not lead to a training contract offer, it still looks great for CV purposes and nobody can tell the difference from afar. Everyone always exaggerates a bit on CVs, and saying that you "secured" an internship over the summer at a major law firm is still true even if you only secured it through mummy or daddy putting 2 million quid a year in the way of that law firm in legal fees.



You also get people who do arrange work experience through the old boys network from certain private schools. 

I know this because this is what I did in 2015. Bit awkward because I had the conversation and agreed to sort it out and the year before (when I was fairly desperate after a year of applying for training contracts and getting nowhere). And a week or so before I actually was due to start the informal work experience, I got a TC offer. So naturally, I still did the work experience. Complete waste of time for everyone, and I am fairly sure that the paralegal I worked with still loathes my guts. His name was Elliott and he seemed nice. I cannot blame him. 

All washed up did you stay in touch with Tom/ Dennis?

This definitely still happens. I have supervised a few interns "by connections".

Wish I had opportunities like that back then.