Feb 01, 2022

Written By Helena Kudiabor

Can I get a training contract without a vacation scheme?

Feb 01, 2022

Written By Helena Kudiabor

As an aspiring solicitor, you’ll know that competition for training contracts is fierce, and that you should do everything possible to boost your chances of admission. However, you may not know that you aren’t required to do a vacation scheme in order to secure a training contract. Although many law firms require one, there are just as many that do not. Here’s what to do if you haven’t done a vacation scheme, to increase your likelihood of securing a training contract.  

Can I get a training contract without a vacation scheme?

Many aspiring solicitors don’t complete a vacation scheme, for many reasons. Maybe you hadn’t realised law was your passion when you were eligible to apply, or you were rejected from the ones you applied for, or you simply had other things going on. Regardless, it’s important not to feel disheartened, and to know that the chances of securing a training contract are still high.

There are still a few law firms that recruit training contract candidates exclusively from those who have already completed a vacation scheme with the firm. There are also some firms that choose candidates from their vacation scheme first, and then choose external candidates if there’s space.

This is because the firm has had the chance to get to know you: they can be confident that you’re a good fit for them. It’s also a chance for you to work out if law, and the firm itself, are right for you. Many of the firms that select candidates in this way are also very competitive, so this is also a simple way for them to shortlist applicants.

 

Advertisement

How can I boost my application without a vacation scheme?

Essentially, a vacation scheme shows to firms that you’re passionate about law, and have a strong work ethic. However, there are ways to show this without completing a vacation scheme. 

You can show your dedication to law by completing legal work experience, for instance, by shadowing a qualified lawyer or getting involved in pro bono work. If you’re at university, your university might have a mooting society. Mooting is a mock court proceeding, where two pairs of lawyers argue a fictitious legal case in court. If you do well, you can even progress to national and even international competitions!

If you can’t find any legal work experience, try not to panic. Any other work or volunteering positions you’ve held are still looked upon favourably by firms. It’s a good idea to think about the skills you’ve taken from your experience (a part-time retail job could have shown you how to resolve conflicts and communicate with people, for example) and include these skills in your application.

Even if you don’t have any legal experience, you’ll still need to know all about the legal sector, such as the responsibilities of a trainee lawyer and some of the firm’s recent deals. 

 

Can I apply for a training contract if I was rejected for a vacation scheme at the same firm?

Although all law firms have their own individual rules, in most cases you’ll be able to. Although you didn’t manage to secure a vacation scheme, it shows the firm that you’re genuinely interested in them, and that you persevere despite challenges.

However, don’t just send in the same application again! In your new application, you should include all the legal and non-legal experience you’ve now completed, and any exam results you’ve received since you last applied. If you know anyone in the legal field, you could ask them to look over your application, and to help you prepare you for interviews. If you’re in university, your university might even have a career adviser, who can look over your application and even stage a mock interview.

Although some firms require their candidates to have completed a vacation scheme with them in order to secure a training contract, try not to worry if you haven’t. There are still numerous firms that will accept your application, and many ways you can boost your application. 

 

Advertisement

Training Contract