Article written by Renee Richards, 2nd year LLB Law Student.
The Christmas season has arrived and the days of being a fresher have ended. Now it is time to utilise your winter break and finish vacation scheme applications, especially if you are a second-year law student. Although there is still time to have fun with friends, your workload will certainly increase. Therefore, prioritising a good work life balance is crucial. Reflect on all the things you did well last year and the things you need to improve on to do an even better job for 2023. Vacation scheme applications may be lingering on your mind, but don’t forget your studies as good grades are just as important. Now that that’s out the way, let’s get right to talking about vacation schemes and why to take part in one.
Vacation schemes are useful work experience and are considered great additions to your CV. These occur towards the end of your second year either in the spring or summer, although some firms do provide winter vacation schemes.
They are important as they provide you with the chance to see what it is like to be a lawyer. Simultaneously, firms can use this to view potential training contract applicants, as some firms will even select a large majority of their trainees from the cohort selected.
Some firms will typically have one deadline date for all their vacation schemes, whereas others have a January deadline for their spring and summer schemes, along with a November deadline for winter schemes.
We urge you to treat this process as you would when applying for a training contract, as some firms view this as part of the same process. Have your CV prepared, as you will often be asked to upload one, or to complete online application forms and submit a detailed cover letter including your motivations to join the firm. Ensure to list relevant experience, skills and as well as the areas of law that capture your interest the most.
Before you apply:
Now that that’s out the way, another good tip is to attend career fairs, events, and insight days with current recruiters and trainees before you apply to help you find the firm that aligns with you the most. Have your CV with you ready to review and have your university careers team check this over.
Research and shortlist the firms you wish to work for to result in quality applications, instead of applying to every firm. Be sure to check deadline dates and ensure you apply early.
Following your application or during, some firms would ask you to complete a verbal reasoning test, or a test to see your critical thinking. Ask student support staff to help direct you to some websites where you can practise these ahead of time. In the event your application is successful, you might be invited to an interview. This is either in person or online. Therefore, be sure to make use of your university resources to improve your interview skills and present yourself appropriately.
Don’t beat yourself up if you fail to get a vacation scheme. You can still make applications for mini pupillages or work experience that offers transferable skills to the legal industry. For instance, you could consider volunteering.
Just because applications are underway, it doesn’t mean you should neglect your classes or extracurriculars and societies! Develop hobbies to socialise and destress your mind of work. Second year may be intense; however, this is a wonderful year in your university life, so make the most of it and enjoy yourself!
All the best,
Renee Richards, 2nd year LLB Law Student.