What do you learn on a vacation scheme?
A vacation scheme tends to take place during any of the holidays in second year; however the majority take place during the summer. It is a two-week internship designed for students to learn more about law; however you do not often learn about the law in great depth. It is a chance for you to discover whether law is right for you, as well as a few transferable skills.
Is a law career right for me?
Vacation schemes take place with a law firm just like training contracts, so they are the perfect opportunity for you to see where you would be interested in working and if you think law is the career for you. Even if you are completely certain that you want to be a lawyer, vacation schemes provide valuable insight about which sector and which type of law suits you best. For instance: you may have been interested in working for a high street family law firm, but after your vacation scheme realise that you want something more fast-paced.
For many students, their vacation scheme will be their first experience of working in an office. Such a new experience means it is inevitable that you will make mistakes along the way. However, instead of seeing these mistakes as catastrophic, use the experience as an opportunity to learn. It is completely okay to make mistakes, what is important is how you better yourself from the experience and regain confidence. Furthermore, you won’t know everything about law when you start your vacation scheme, and it’s okay to ask for help. It’s a good idea to ask lots of questions and research topics further in your own time.
During your vacation scheme, there will inevitably be tasks that are not best suited to you or areas of law that you find you don’t enjoy. Yet, it is vital to keep a positive attitude even when dealing with things you don’t particularly enjoy. This is a practice that extends to all areas of work: if you aren’t getting on with your co-workers, if you are tired of working long hours, if you didn’t get a promotion or a seat you really wanted. Even if you are feeling frustrated, it’s important to remain optimistic and think about how lucky you are to have secured a vacation scheme or training contract.
When you’re so busy working and trying to get everything done, it can be easy to forget to build a rapport with your co-workers. On your vacation scheme, it’s a good idea to regularly speak with your boss, advisors, and fellow employees and ensure you have their contact details for the future. Many vacation schemes have social events and it’s definitely worth attending these. Not only do they allow you to relax a little and get to know everyone in an informal setting, they also allow you to learn the culture of the firm. If you complete your scheme at a large city firm, you may find that you are better suited to a smaller high street firm where it is easier to get to know everyone. Networking early provides you with the skills and connections you need for the future.
Although you may not spend your vacation scheme in the office reading legal documents all the time, the experience is invaluable in terms of the practical skills you will learn.