What is a virtual vacation scheme?
With the professional world having to adapt to the social distancing regulations as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, many industries have switched to remote working. The law sector is no exception, with many firms cancelling their on-site vacation schemes since the spring of 2020, in favour of a virtual alternative.
What will I do on a virtual vacation scheme?
You’ll be working on the same technical skills that you would in a regular scheme - this means you’ll be given training on legal drafting, as well as learning about the different practice areas that the firm specialises in.
However, because you’ll be working remotely, the way this training is delivered will involve a different set of soft skills. With a reduced amount of face-to-face contact, you’ll often be working individually, relying on written communication for contact with colleagues. That said, you will have the opportunity to engage with them over video conferencing calls, as you’ll be an involved member of the team.
You should bear in mind that not all virtual vacation schemes are structured in the same way, though. Other firms offer online courses, which will consist of tasks that give you an insight into the work you would do with them - this can include guidance materials and video content uploaded to an e-learning platform. You could find yourself studying material and related to global issues and working on problem-solving skills as you work through the activities.
Although you’ll have little direct interaction with the company, firms offering this form of work experience have stated that completing this scheme will still give you future consideration for training contracts.
How long does a scheme last?
Many firms originally offering longer summer schemes have shortened the length of their placements in order to adapt to remote working. For instance, some of the longer schemes will run for a week rather than a fortnight, but will still see you get paid the same amount.
In the case of virtual vacation schemes delivered via online courses, you can expect the training period to last several days’ worth of content as you work through the various activities on offer.
Why should I do a virtual vacation scheme?
In general, vacation schemes can be considered a crucial aspect of your law training. They give you practical experience of working on real projects in a firm, as well as allowing you to get a foot in the door, looking ahead to your future prospects. Indeed, many firms recruit mainly - sometimes even exclusively - from their vacation scheme intakes.
This means that, although the format of the placement will have changed, a virtual vacation scheme is still just as essential. In addition, undertaking work experience in the current circumstances will demonstrate to future employers that you’ve been proactive, and haven’t waited around for normal vacation schemes to return before getting some experience in the bag.
One other advantage of a virtual vacation scheme is that you’re no longer limited by access, as you can connect from anywhere to complete it. This means you don’t need to worry about location or set time constraints when looking for which firm to apply to.
Virtual Vacation Schemes