5 top research tips before applying for vacation schemes and training contracts
When it comes to applying for vacation schemes and training contracts at law firms, preparation is everything. It really does make the difference between having a successful and an unsuccessful application.
With that in mind here are five top research tips you may want to consider:
1. Work out what you want
The first stage is to work out what you want from a law firm and from your training contract. City, high street and regional firms all have different cultures and different types of work. Having an open mind is important but it would be beneficial to you if you have an idea about what area of law you would like to practice so you can use that as the main focus of your application.
2. Know your firm
Somewhere in the application, you will inevitably be asked “why this firm?” and it is really important you don’t generalise in your answer. One of the best things you can do is apply to attend an open day at the firm so you get an opportunity to talk to a variety of people including current trainees and HR.
3. Tailor your application
If you can take the name of the firm you’re applying to out and replace it with another firm and the answer still makes sense, your application is too generic. You have to be able to explain why you have chosen to apply to one particular law firm instead of others. It could be the type of work they specialise in or the type of clients they have, just make sure you can back up your answers with examples and be specific.
4. Be commercially aware
Commercial awareness means understanding the business climate a firm operates in, the specific challenges it faces and, crucially, its clients. This is something you need to be continually working on. If you want to work in corporate law you will need to understand major issues affecting businesses in the UK and around the world, the implications of Brexit on business etc. If you are interested in family work then you will need to be up to date with the latest new laws, court decisions and procedural changes.
5. Connect in advance
One of the best ways to make your application stand out is to be known to the firm already and there a number of ways to make that happen. You can attend open/insight days, apply for a vacation scheme or connect with them via LinkedIn. Firms are always looking to spot the next generation of talent so making an early connection could make a huge difference to your application.