May 01, 2020

Written By Billy Sexton

Vacation schemes: how much do firms pay?

May 01, 2020

Written By Billy Sexton

Vacation schemes are half the battle to securing a training contract. They are usually two or three week work placements at a law firm, and they take place most commonly in the summer holidays, but also in winter and spring too.

The benefits of doing a vacation scheme include getting trainee solicitor work experience under your belt and even snagging yourself a training contract because some firms hire directly from their vacation schemes. On top of this, you’ll get paid between £300-£500 a week too. Nothing to turn your nose up at!

The amount you will get paid will depend on the type of firm you work at, and also where in the country you do a vacation scheme.

What type of firms pay the most?

Similar to training contracts, large US firms tend to pay the most money to their vacation scheme students. For example, Weil pay their vacation scheme students £500 per week and US firms are also known to pay north of £50,000 a year to first year trainee solicitors.

Large international firms and the Magic Circle and Silver Circle are not far behind. Clifford Chance pay £450 week, as do Allen & Overy and Linklaters. Norton Rose Fulbright are paying £450 per week too, and Baker McKenzie pay £369 per week.

Vacation scheme pay outside of London

The salaries detailed above are for vacation schemes that take place in London. The higher salary isn’t only reflecting the type of work and clientele of each firm, it’s also making sure that students are sufficiently able to cover their costs whilst undertaking their vacation scheme.

There are plenty of vacation schemes outside of London available and these also pay well. For example, Shoosmiths pay their vacation scheme students £310 per week and Pinsent Masons pay £325 per week in their regional offices.

What else should I consider?

You will get paid on any vacation scheme and it’s certainly not the most important thing to look for when you’re on the hunt for a vacation scheme. First and foremost, you should apply to firms that specialise, or have departments dedicated to working in areas of law that interest you the most. You shouldn’t apply to the Magic Circle because of the attractive salary, you should apply because you have a keen interest in corporate and financial law.

You should make sure to do your research on each firm’s vacation scheme too before applying. Generally speaking, you will spend a week in a specific practice area, but some firms may have compulsory practice areas they want you to get a taste for. If you absolutely know that a practice area isn’t for you, it’s best to know this in advance of applying to the firm and wasting valuable time which could be spent making a competitive application to another.


Get me on that vacation scheme!

Ready to apply for a vacation scheme? Head to our dedicated page to see all the latest opportunities.


Vacation Scheme