Article written by Nemr Chaer, Future Trainee Solicitor at Clifford Chance and finalist Law student at the University of Warwick.
A vacation scheme is legal work experience for aspiring solicitors. It is provided by law firms and commonly lasts for a duration of one or two weeks. The benefits of a vacation scheme are invaluable for aspiring solicitors as it allows one to:
What does the road to securing a vacation scheme look like? It is commonly described as a ‘competitive and demanding’ journey, but it does not have to be if you lay the groundwork for it! This is what this piece will explore.
The optimal way to prepare yourself for applying to vacation schemes is to attend as many law firm events as possible. This includes insight schemes, open days, and networking events…just get involved and put yourself out there! Why?
Another important part of laying the groundwork for your vacation schemes is to find a part-time job or any work experience that can build your skills. Importantly, the experience can be legal OR non-legal. From personal experience, I have never attended a law firm event where the graduate recruitment team has said that they prefer one experience over another. The truth is that law is a profession that requires a range of skills that can be acquired from many non-legal experiences as well as legal experiences.
In view of the above, it is highly recommended that you find an experience where you can really grow your skill set in order to transpose those skills to the legal environment.
Do you have a position of responsibility at university? Is there a hobby that you pursue? What do you enjoy doing in your free time? These questions are important to answer during your road to a vacation scheme. This is because they tell law firms about your interests which you can use as your unique selling point. There is not a particular extracurricular activity that law firms look for so I would highly recommend you get involved in extracurriculars that you truly enjoy doing!
The most important part of the road to a vacation scheme is that you have the grades to have your application considered. Law firms usually require at least a 2:1. Therefore, I would highly recommend that you do not lose sight of the fact that you are a university student who needs to achieve the very best grades!
To wrap up, above was a piece on everything you should be doing before applying to a vacation scheme. Getting onto vacation schemes are competitive but not if you lay the right groundwork!