What is a vacation scheme?

A vacation scheme is a period of one or two weeks spent at a law firm as part of the training contract application process.  

A vacation scheme is essentially work experience, the difference being that you will be assessed throughout for your suitability to get a training contract at that firm. It’s also likely that you’ll have an interview at the end of the scheme. 

During the scheme you’ll be given real work to do, and you should tackle these tasks as if you were a trainee. Don’t worry if you don’t have any legal knowledge yet; the firm will not expect you to be an expert on the law! Instead, they will be looking to see what your thought process was and, most important of all, that you approached the task with enthusiasm. 

It is essential that you are on your best behaviour throughout the vacation scheme. This applies just as much to your time at your desk as during a social event with your fellow vac schemers. Your prospective future colleagues and supervisors will be watching you! 

Having said that, you need to be yourself too. Of course the firm wants to see if you’ll be a good lawyer, but they also want to see that you’re someone that other people will want to share an office with. If you come across as arrogant, laid back or even too intense, you might give off the wrong impression. Be friendly and engaging, ask questions and take an interest in what’s going on around you. 

Remember that doing a vacation scheme is a two-way process. It’s as much a chance for you to find out if you like the firm as it is for them to work out if you’ll be a good fit. 

Vacation schemes are an integral part of the training contract application process and are very important. Many firms now recruit solely from their vacation scheme so this could be your one and only chance to show them what you can do. 

If you’re lucky enough to nab a spot on a vacation scheme, work hard and take every opportunity to find out as much as you can about the firm. 

Our vacation scheme deadline table has all the dates you need. Start researching now!