May 27, 2022
A vacation scheme is often the first step in your journey to being recruited by a law firm, so it’s essential you make the most of this opportunity, advises BPP.

Finding a place on a vacation scheme is one of the best ways to get legal work experience at an early stage in your studies. They’re usually competitive and securing a space is something that should be celebrated, whether the opportunity leads to a training contract or not.

During your placement, there are five key ways that you maximise this opportunity.

1. Do Lots Of Research

This is your opportunity to really dive into researching the people that you’ll be working alongside. Who are the partners, associates and junior lawyers that you’ll get access to? Make sure you review their bios on the website, check out their LinkedIn profiles, read about cases they and the company have been working on.

This will help you understand the context of where you’re working, and will show that you’re prepared and well-researched. It’s a great way to highlight your commitment to the vacation scheme and enhance your prospects.

2. Ask Clever Questions

Don’t ask something that can easily be found on the company’s website, as you’ll look unprepared. Instead, make sure you ask thoughtful, insightful questions and observe what’s happening around you in the office. This is your best chance to really understand how the firm operates and what it’s like to work there, so keep your eyes open.

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3. Have The Right Attitude

This is your big opportunity to show the firm who you are, and give a taste of what you’d be like to work with. That means you need to wear the right attitude: be enthusiastic, be willing to learn, be prepared to work hard, and be humble if you’re given any feedback.

As well as making sure you get the most out of the experience, this should leave your colleagues with a positive lasting impression and really develop your network.

4. Consider If You Actually Enjoyed It

A vacation scheme is such a good way to experience what it’s like to be a solicitor, and it’s really important that you reflect on how you felt about your time at the law firm. What areas did you enjoy the most? Could that hint at an area of law that you might like to specialise in, for example?

What did you think of the firm itself? Is it the kind of place you’d like to work, or should you try to get a vacation scheme at a different type of firm?

If you come away from the scheme feeling that it didn’t meet your expectations, that doesn’t mean you should reconsider your career goals just yet. Try to get more experience in different firms, or different areas of law, before you make any rash decisions.

5. Keep An Experience Log

Make sure you keep a log of what you’ve done each day during your vacation scheme. Try to update this every day, because you will forget the smaller details if you wait until the end. Make sure you note the tasks you did, the knowledge you gained, and any observations you made or contacts you met.

If you can make this as detailed as possible, it will serve as a useful tool if you come to apply for a training contract with the firm – or if you apply for anything else and want to explain what you’ve learnt from your vacation scheme.

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