Don’t fret! A 2:2 in first year, whilst not ideal, also isn’t that uncommon. The whole ‘first year doesn’t count’ thing tends to mess with a lot of people, but it does mean that you can now evaluate where you went wrong and what you can improve on ready to ace that second and third year.
I’d still give applying to vacation schemes a go – whilst you may not be successful, if you have other things on your CV to show your interest in law, it may work in your favour. If not, it’s not the end of the world not getting a vacation scheme – but I’d definitely try and get a form of work experience! Some options would be to send a letter to some small, local law firms asking for a week or two of workplace shadowing (make sure in your letter you include why you’ve chosen to write to that law firm in particular, what makes them special, and show you have some knowledge of their clients – basically, do your research even for the smaller firms).
Also, make sure you keep an eye out for Law Firm Open Days and apply! Network, introduce yourself, meet a bigger firm and impress them with your legal knowledge. Take a look at our Deadlines page to see when these are happening.
Finally, try volunteering at somewhere, for example, Citizens Advice. We wrote a couple of blog posts on pro bono work experience – one called Pro Bono Work Experience: A Law Student’s Whistle-Stop Guide (https://www.thelawyerportal.com/2017/10/18/pro-bono-work-experience/) and the other Law Work Experience: Citizens Advice Bureau. I’d advise you have a quick read through them (just go to Blogs).
I hope this helps and good luck!
The Lawyer Portal