When should I apply for a vacation scheme?
It’s important to know at which point of your degree, and at what time of the year you should start applying for a placement in order to get ahead in a crowded market.
Vacation schemes are an essential part of your legal training and can be the platform on which you launch a future career, with many law firms hiring mainly from their scheme intake for graduate training contracts.
At which point of my degree should I do a vacation scheme?
You’ll be expected to do vacation schemes starting from the second year of your degree - especially in the summer moving into your final term. In the case of summer schemes, many firms tend to prioritise applications coming from law students.
Although a vacation scheme is not a strict requirement for being hired by a law firm at the end of your degree, it will certainly increase your chances of being taken on. Students who are able to make time to do placements while studying their degree will be showing their motivation and drive to join that particular firm. In this sense, a vacation scheme is the first step towards securing a training contract.
If you’re still in your first year or at the start of your second, you could look into attending insight days. These are offered by law firms as introductions to the profession and allow you to pitch your questions about the various aspects of a legal career.
When do vacation schemes run?
Firms will usually hold vacation schemes during the winter, spring and summer breaks, with deadlines generally several months before the start day. This means you should make sure to send off your applications as early as possible to increase your chances of getting a place. For instance, many spring and summer placements have deadlines in January, while winter schemes have deadlines starting from October.
In some cases, firms will hold work experience on a rolling basis throughout the year, meaning there will be a less formalised application process to stick to, although these are less likely to be formal vacation schemes. In any case, it’s best to consult the websites of the individual firms you’d like to apply to see how they select candidates for their vacation schemes.
Where can I find vacation scheme opportunities?
If you want to get a head start on the latest vacation scheme placements, head over to the jobs section of our website now for the latest opportunities!