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Vacations Schemes vs Training Contracts: What’s more beneficial for me?

Vacations Schemes vs Training Contracts: What’s more beneficial for me?

What is a vacation scheme? 

A law vacation scheme is essentially a paid internship that you can undertake during your university degree. They usually take place in the spring, summer and winter. 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.

Potential employers will be able to see your commitment to the legal profession, which looks great when it comes to applying for roles in the near future. 

But what are the other benefits of vacation schemes, and is it really mandatory that you complete one?

What are the benefits of vacation schemes? 

Whilst a vacation scheme isn’t a compulsory requirement, unlike a training contract, there are many benefits of undertaking one or more vacation schemes.  

It gives you insight into what working in a firm is like

You might have been dreaming about becoming a lawyer so as long as you can remember, or you decided to become a lawyer after watching a dramatic TV show. But do you really know what working in a law firm entails?

Completing a vacation scheme helps you to understand what day-to-day life in a law firm would be like, without the commitment. You can identify what type of law firm you’d like to work in which makes narrowing down potential firms easier for full-time roles, see what type of specialism you most enjoy and most importantly, identify whether a role in law is really for you before you sign your life away (not literally, of course!).

It looks good on your CV

As previously mentioned, by completing a vacation scheme, you’ve got something tangible to add to your CV. And it gives you a chance to show off all of the desirable skills of a lawyer and how you have previously demonstrated them in a law firm environment. This is sure to give you some additional marks in a law firm interview and provide you with the opportunity to stand out from the crowd. 

What is a training contract? 

A training contract is the last hurdle before becoming a solicitor, and something that every prospective solicitor must undertake. A training contract is a two-year placement where you will rotate between different seats and build upon your knowledge of the law.

What are the benefits of training contracts? 

You get to try out different specialisms

If you are unsure of what area of law you want to practice, a training contract will give you insights into different specialisms that the firm offers. This can help you decide what you enjoy, what works for your work-life balance and what you are good at. 

You get to meet lots of employees at the firm

One of the most daunting things about starting a new job is how many names you’ll have to remember and all the people you have to meet. One of the great things about training contracts is that you will rotate around the different areas of law your practice specialises in, meaning you get to meet lots of different people in the firm, and don’t have to remember everyone’s name on day one!

You will learn lots of new skills

By completing a training contract, you are sure to pick up lots of transferable skills even if you decide not to go into a career in law once your training contract has finished.

So, should I do a vacation scheme or a training contract?

Hopefully, you now understand the benefits and necessities of both a vacation scheme and a training contract. As previously mentioned, a vacation scheme looks great on your CV and helps you to stand out from the competition. This therefore gives you an advantage over training contact applications. That being said, it’s not compulsory to undertake a vacation scheme before a training contract, but hopefully, you can see how it helps!

In addition, 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 so if you’ve got the time to do a vacation scheme, we’d definitely recommend it! 

If you are currently applying for a vacation scheme, have a look at the frequently asked questions.