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How To Prepare For A Vacation Scheme

Updated 6 March 2019

Vacation Scheme Advice

You have successfully made it through the vacation scheme application process and you secured a vacation placement, which you should be very proud of. These law vacation schemes are a great way to get an insight into law firms and gain invaluable legal work experience. Today we will share with you eight steps on how to prepare for a vacation scheme to ensure you make the most out of it.

1. Know your vac scheme goals

We recommend you start getting organised early on and prepare a plan with your vacation scheme goals and specifically what you hoping to gain out of it. By having a plan, it should make it easier to navigate through the scheme but also sets a good impression on the firm that you have come prepared. Remember these vacation schemes do not come easy, so use this fantastic opportunity presented to make it count.

2. Prepare a list of questions you want to ask
Whilst on law vacation scheme you will probably have several questions to ask but having a list prepared prior can go a long way and show enthusiasm. We recommend you prepare a few questions for each area of law/department but also make sure you have questions for trainees surrounding training contracts as the tips you will get from them will be invaluable. One former Hogan Lovells vacation scheme student encourages to ask lots of questions but be mindful who they are directed at.

3. First impression counts
On your first day, you will be meeting new people at the firm so the first impression counts. Pre-plan your journey to the office and know how long it will take you. Make sure you arrive on time or even arrive slightly earlier. Know who you are meeting on your first day and presentation is important, so make sure you look apart. If you are not sure about the dress policy check with the firm.

4. Be yourself
These law firm vacation schemes are often described as a long interview lasting several weeks because essentially you will be watched and assessed throughout the scheme. Being yourself at all times will be key. If you try to over impress or compete with your fellow vacation scheme colleagues, it will be seen straight through and you are unlikely to be remembered in a positive light.

5. Know your prospective team
If you know which departments you are going to be joining, make a head start by researching the team as well as some recent work they have carried out. This will show interest in the work of the firm and enthusiasm.

6. Always carry a pen a notebook with you
Remember this scheme may be your only chance to gain an insight into a commercial law firm, so make sure you take plenty of notes. Be prepared as you never know when you may be asked to observe a meeting and take notes. Also keeping a record of the work done and of your experiences at the firm. This will help with future training contract applications but also decide if this law firm is the right fit.

7. Network and be social
Attending organised events and networking is a great way to demonstrate your social skills. Try to network and build rapport with a variety of people at the firm, not just lawyers and trainees. If you are being social and network correctly it will not go unnoticed. 

8. Post vacation scheme
Keeping in touch with people at the firm and more specifically send a thank you email and to say how much you enjoyed your time at the firm which will set you in a positive light.

Our top tip
Do not compete with your fellow vac schemers or show any signs of this nature. The firm will assess you for one key skill which is your ability to work as part of a team, so do not let yourself down by trying too hard to impress.

Not secured a vacation scheme yet? No problem. Take a look at this article on how to get a vacation scheme


Joe Simmons

Legal recruiter and blogger @purelegaljobs

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