Vacation Schemes: Frequently Asked Questions

Vacation Schemes: Frequently Asked Questions

It takes a lot of time and effort to secure a vacation scheme, and you will want to make the most out of your time within a law firm, so naturally, you are going to have lots of questions you want to ask!

So, we’re answering your frequently asked vacation scheme questions in this blog post.

 How difficult is it to secure a vacation scheme?   

If you’re yet to secure a vacation scheme, this one’s for you. We’d recommend keeping your vacation scheme search as broad as possible. It’s not impossible to secure a vacation scheme, but it’s unlikely to apply to just one and get it. This is because law firms receive a huge number of applications. 

When is the best time to apply for a vacation scheme?

You’re best off making a list of firms you’re interested in applying to and searching for their deadlines individually. Law firms usually have a summer and winter intake. Winter intakes are aimed at undergraduate students in their final year. However, January 31 is a popular closing date, therefore, the best time to apply would be in October or November. Some firms still accept applications later in the year, but we’d recommend working on your list and applications from September, so you’re prepared as soon as your chosen firms go live. 

How should I decide which firms to apply to?

As we said above, it’s important to keep your search broad initially. But this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do your research. It’s likely there’s a specific area of law you are interested in specialising in, but have a look at what other areas these firms also work in, so you have a full understanding of what they offer.  

Additionally, have a look at the size of a firm. Do you envision working at a firm with 20 employees or 200? If you’re not sure, apply to both. We’d also recommend looking at the reputation of firms too to help you make your decision. 

Is it important to do a vacation scheme?

If you’re on the fence about whether to apply for a vacation scheme, let us help you out.

When you complete your legal studies, competition will be high and law firms will be looking for experience within a law firm. Those with work experience, extra-curricular activities and vacation schemes will be high up on their list of suitable candidates as it shows their commitment to the profession, so we’d definitely recommend taking part in a vacation scheme if you are looking for a career as a solicitor.

What happens if I haven’t completed a vacation scheme?

But don’t let that put you off if you didn’t study law and are looking for a career change. There are other routes into a role in the legal sector, such as beginning as a paralegal or office administrator. Have a look at the roles law firms are currently recruiting for here.

What is a vacation scheme? 

For those of you who don’t already know what you’ve signed yourself up for or haven’t secured one yet, we’ll start by answering, “what is a vacation scheme.” The day-to-day duties might differ depending on the firm you secure a vacation scheme with, but the premise is likely to be the same. A vacation scheme is a period of work experience within a law firm that is offered to law firm students looking to find out what life as a solicitor is like.

Will I get paid for my vacation scheme?

You will get paid for your vacation scheme, but the amount will be dependent on the firm you secure a vacation scheme. However, we’d recommend applying for as many vacation schemes as you can, rather than just the most well-paid ones, so you can increase your chance of being selected. Vacation scheme salaries range from approximately £300-£500 a week. 

Do I need to complete a vacation scheme before applying for a training contract?

The answer is no, however, as mentioned above, having a vacation scheme definitely looks great with your application. Lots of law firms state that many people who have already completed a vacation scheme with them go on to apply for their training contracts.  

Do I need to study law to apply for a vacation scheme?

In most cases, the answer is no, but have a look at the specific firms you’re applying for and their requirements. 

What is the process of applying for a vacation scheme?

Again, this will vary from firm to firm, so make sure to do the research into the specific firms you want to apply for. But the expected process for applying for a vacation scheme is first completing the application forms before the deadline. This is followed by an assessment centre where you’ll be expected to take part in a range of exercises and activities followed by an interview. At the end of your vacation scheme, you might be invited to interview for the training contracts. 

How can I stand out in my vacation scheme?

You will be assessed throughout your vacation scheme to see if you can demonstrate the skills and attributes required to excel in a career in the legal industry. What skills are law firms looking for? Have a look at this blog post on personality types law firms are looking for, and ensure you can demonstrate a wide range of these throughout. Skills and attributes law firms are looking for will include commercial awareness, a genuine interest, great time management skills and resilience, amongst others. 

Ready to apply for vacation schemes?

This blog post should have answered all of your questions about vacation schemes, and you should be ready for the next steps. If you’ve secured a vacation scheme, have a look at our top tips for making sure your vacation scheme is a success. And, if you are currently interviewing for vacation schemes, read our 20 tips for making sure you show off your best self in interviews.