12 Top Tips to Ensure Your Vacation Scheme Is a Success

As a law student, securing a vacation scheme should be top of your list. Not only will it look great on your CV and give you valuable experience, but it will also help you to determine which areas of law you’re interested in, and even if a career in the law is definitely for you.

So, now you’ve secured your vacation scheme, it’s time to think about how you can get the most out of it to help bolster your legal career.

Carry on reading for 12 top tips to ensure success.

1.  Make sure you research the firm 

As you have probably already done so during the application process, knowing the ins and outs of the firm will come in handy. You don’t want to get service areas confused with other firms you’ve applied to, and it’s good to be able to discuss some recent cases or legislation of service areas the firm specialises in.

It’s important to show why you’re interested in the firm throughout your whole vacation scheme, not just the application process. Learning about the firm before you start, it can help to reduce the nerves on your first day. 

2. Remember, first impressions count

You don’t have long to impress during your vacation scheme, so make all of your first impressions count. And remember, these impressions are for all staff in a law firm, whether they are a receptionist, paralegal or partner.  

3. If in doubt, dress professionally

In a hybrid world, it sometimes seems as though dress code has gone out of the window. But it’s better to start off wearing professional business attire and tone it down later than dressing wrong to start with.

4. Be enthusiastic

All tasks you’re given during your vacation scheme, no matter how menial you think they seem, it’s important to be enthusiastic and willing to get involved. Don’t go too over the top and pretend an admin job is the most exciting thing in the world, but don’t roll your eyes. Not every day in a law firm will be exciting, so it’s important to learn the basic skills involved too. 

5. Keep up to date with the news 

Keep abreast with current affairs throughout your vacation scheme. These are great topics of conversation to have with the team!

6. Ask for feedback

Getting feedback throughout your vacation scheme is super helpful for future job applications, interviews, and personal growth. By asking for feedback, you can improve what you are doing during your vacation scheme and prove that you can take on feedback. So don’t feel disheartened if you receive feedback that you entail being negative throughout your vacation scheme. Use this as a way to impress the team by making changes.  

7. Ask questions

As important as asking for feedback is asking questions. This shows your interest in the firm, developing your skills and pursuing a career in law. Be mindful about who you are asking which questions to, but this is the best way to find out whether a career in law is for you and what your day-to-day duties will be.

If you need support, don’t be afraid to ask for it too. This will help to ensure you make a great impression on every piece of work you do.

8. Proofread everything you write 

Good writing skills are essential for a successful career in law. As you might well know, a comma in the wrong place or a misspelt word can change the meaning of a contract. So, make sure you proofread everything you write multiple times before you hit ‘send’. We’ve previously written a blog post on top tips to improve your legal writing skills.

9. Be proactive

One of the best ways to prove that you’re invested in the role and firm is to be proactive. By being proactive, you’ll be trusted with more pieces of work and will get a more rounded experience of the role. It will also demonstrate your enthusiasm, so as long as you’re doing things right and getting all of your other tasks done (including the boring ones) you’re sure to impress.

10. Keep an experience log

And one of the most important things you can do is keep a log of all of the tasks, cases, and jobs you work on. This will be beneficial for your CV and later job applications. Ideally, update this daily, so you don’t forget what you’ve done.

11. Embrace networking opportunities

Use your vacation scheme to develop as much knowledge as you can – legal knowledge as well as the ins and outs of working at a law firm. One of the best ways to do this - and get out of your shell – is by meeting people. Whether they are virtual or still on in-person, but remember, your behaviour at a social event should still be professional, whether it’s an official networking event, lunch, or dinner. If your socials are online, make sure to put your camera on!

12. Be yourself

There’s no point in pretending to be something you’re not. As well as trying to impress, your vacation scheme is also there for you to decide whether a legal career is for you and whether you actually enjoy the work you’re doing. So, if the role isn’t fitting your personality, maybe it’s not for you.

Ready to take on your vacation scheme?

It’s important to manage the expectations of your upcoming vacation scheme. Not every task is going to be exciting, you won’t necessarily be offered a training contract at the end of it, and you shouldn’t overcommit to tasks. But, by following these simple top tips, you’ll hopefully make a good impression and develop long-lasting and supportive relationships.  

If you’re ready to start looking at roles within law firms, head to our careers page.