Why should I do a Vacation Scheme?
Vacation schemes are increasingly being used by firms to scout out potential candidates for training contracts, rather than just using a paper application as they allow the firm to get to know the candidate and vice versa. It also gives you a very good indication as to what life as a trainee is like. They typically run during the summer months.
Whilst a vacation scheme may not guarantee you a training contract, it will certainly set you up in good stead.
A vacation scheme is a one or two-week work experience placement. On all vacation schemes, you will shadow a solicitor in their working day. This includes supporting them on a number of activities. You will be given on-the-job training and guidance to help you try to get a feel for the role and demonstrate your potential.
If you haven’t quite decided on whether a career in law is for you, a vacation scheme allows you to gain a deep insight into a firm and the role of a solicitor. It allows you to narrow down what area of law you may want to focus on when applying for training contracts.
There are many reasons why you should consider completing a vacation scheme:
• great exposure to legal activities and put into practice what you learn in university;
• see whether the firm is the type of firm you want to work for. A vacation scheme isn’t only about the firm assessing you, it’s about your interest in the firm too;
• start to build your network with the solicitors, trainees and paralegals you work with. It is important to get to know as many people as possible; and
• experience different practice areas (it is general practice for you to spend your placement working in multiple departments) to get a feel for which area of law you are most interested in.
Vacation Schemes are open to both law and non-law students. Ideally, you should apply when in your second year at university but most firms would welcome applications from students at different stages.
Keebles vacation scheme applications close on the 27 March 2020.
It is important to treat the vacation scheme application like you would a training contract application. You should research the firm to demonstrate why that firm is different from every other law firm and why it appeals to you. Firms can tell when you use a blanket application, especially when you forget to change the firms’ name! It is worth considering attending an insight day with the firm prior to completing the vacation scheme application as this will allow you to understand the firm better before applying. They are a great way of meeting different teams within a firm and to ask some questions about a practice area, priorities and culture.
When preparing your application, keep in mind that a law firm is generally looking for two key things:
1. A genuine interest in the law, and
2. Demonstrable experience of the relevant skills required to be a successful lawyer.
So, ensure that your application includes any events or insight days you have attended and any work experience and other vacation schemes you have undertaken. Try to also highlight your skills from your extra-curricular activities which are relevant to law.