I missed the vacation scheme deadline: what should I do?
If you’ve missed the deadline to apply - whether that’s because university work is piling up or you’re busy with your part-time job - here are a few tips for setting out a plan of action.
Although they are considered an important part of the legal training process, vacation schemes shouldn’t be seen as the only route to a career as a solicitor or a barrister.
When are the vacation scheme deadlines?
The deadlines for spring and summer placements tend to come at the end of January, while for winter schemes applications tend to close in November. Bear in mind that this varies across different law firms, so if you’ve missed one deadline it’s worth checking if a similar firm is still taking applications. For example, some firms have windows going on up to mid-February.
Will I still have the same chances of getting in?
This depends on how certain law firms process applications for their vacation schemes. Some may wait until after the deadline to pick out candidates, while others will begin offering places as applications are still being sent in - this can be because of the logistical strain of processing so many forms at the same time. This is why it’s important to get your application in as soon as possible if you’ve found a firm that’s still accepting applications.
What are my other options?
If there’s no possibility of getting onto a formal vacation scheme, you can always make speculative applications for more informal work experience - this will still be valued when you come to applying for training schemes when you graduate. You’ll be able to find mid-sized firms that carry out internships on a rolling basis. Work experience in other sectors could also be a viable alternative - if you’re able to effectively relate skills you’ve acquired in another sector back to the legal profession on a future application, you might be able to stand out from other candidates!
Ultimately, the best way to make up for not doing a vacation scheme is to fill up your summer doing something that makes you employable, whether that be in the legal world or not. Not doing a vacation scheme won’t automatically disqualify you from going on to secure a training contract, as many firms recruit up to half of their trainees from outside of their vacation scheme intake.
Where would I be able to find other vacation schemes?
To find the latest opportunities offered by firms, head on over to the dedicated section of our website!