Jul 15, 2022

Written By Jack Medforth

Can you apply for vacation schemes as a graduate?

Jul 15, 2022

Written By Jack Medforth

People begin their legal careers at different stages and sometimes it seems as though opportunities are focused on those still at university. This article will answer whether or not vacation schemes are exclusive to undergraduates.

What is a vacation scheme?

A vacation scheme is a work experience placement/mini-internship that takes place over the course of one or two weeks. It is normally paid, with the most prestigious firms paying up to £500 per week. They usually involve potential candidates shadowing solicitors, sitting in on meetings and doing some basic legal work, occasionally they may also include an assessment.

These schemes are mutually beneficial for law firms and candidates. Firms are able to get a better understanding of the quality of the potential candidates for future trainee schemes and those on the vacation scheme can not only experience the type of work done but also gain a feel for the firm.

Many firms use vacation schemes as another step in the interview process for training contracts, some only interviewing candidates that completed a training contract with them.

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Can I apply for vacation schemes as a graduate?

While vacation schemes are often aimed at full time students, most schemes don’t have this as an exclusive criterion. Normally postgraduates can apply to vacation schemes, however there may be some instances in which firms restrict the availability to certain times of year, sometimes preferring to keep the summer scheme open exclusively to students.

There may be a few firms that don’t offer vacation schemes to postgraduates however they will almost always have an alternative form of work experience available, often only open to postgraduates. If not a vacation scheme at a specific time of year it could be a string of open days or a shortened form of a vacation scheme to fit in better with postgraduates who work full time.

It is important not to be disheartened if some of the opportunities seem to be aimed more at undergraduate students, since in many situations, your experience will be an advantage.

Firstly, postgraduates already have their grades and so are a more guaranteed candidate than current students. Similarly, postgraduates will have had more opportunity to gain legal work experience. Taking these factors into account means your postgraduate status could actually help you in gaining a vacation scheme.

In conclusion

Vacation schemes are not exclusive to undergraduates aside from in certain parts of the year, therefore the only real thing that needs to be taken into consideration is timing.

For example, if a certain firm offers its summer scheme only to undergraduates, then be sure not to miss the deadline for the winter one else you may be waiting a whole year before your next opportunity! It is important to remember that law firms are just as interested in postgraduates as undergraduate students, if not more so, as they are often a more experienced candidate.

So, all in all, to answer the above question, yes, graduate students can apply for vacation schemes!

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Vacation Scheme