Vacation schemes in Law
Gaining work experience in law
Securing work experience in law is a good way to demonstrate your commitment to a career in the legal profession. It also shows that you have researched your plans to become a lawyer after university.
There are plenty of opportunities to get work experience in law:
Vacation schemes – apply via an online form with deadlines between October and January
Vacation schemes or vacation placements are usually two or three weeks long and paid (often around £250 a week). They are structured programmes for second-year and final-year students or graduates. They are open to both law and non-law students. Gaining a place is as competitive as gaining a training contract with equally rigorous recruitment methods. If your vacation scheme goes well, you may be invited to apply for a training contract at the law firm.
Most firms use the same assessment days for their vacation scheme places as training contract places. These assessment centres or assessment days may include:
- group exercises
- panel interviews
- aptitude tests
- written exercises
- a networking lunch with trainees, recruiters and partners
Insight days for first-year students. Apply online
These have become increasingly popular over the last ten years. They take a similar format to law open days but with workshops and group exercises too. They are tailored to first-year law and sometimes non-law students.
Events. Apply onlineEvents such as Inside City Law are ideal opportunities to gain an insight into life as a City lawyer.
Ad hoc work shadowing in local, high street firms
Not all law firms have the capacity or resources to run structured vacation placements for groups of students. For smaller firms that don’t offer structured schemes, it’s still worth sending off a speculative letter and CV enquiring about work shadowing opportunities. Don’t be shy to network with contacts – do you have any links with local law firms through family, friends or your careers service?.
Voluntary legal work experience
Volunteering at Citizens Advice, a law centre, the Free Representation Unit (FRU) and the National Pro Bono centre can help you develop your research and client skills. Your university careers service will be able to point you in the right direction of voluntary opportunities in your area.