updated on 19 September 2023
Looking for an ‘in’? Open days and insight schemes are invaluable opportunities to meet the people that work for the law firms you’re interested in. You’ll learn about life in the organisation, its culture, the work on offer and much more. Plus, if prepped well, it’s your chance to ace that initial interaction to set yourself up nicely for future encounters that could eventually lead to a training contract.
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Searching for relevant open days and insight schemes can often feel like diving into the deep end of a swimming pool for the first time, with no armbands. There are many events on offer so it’s crucial to identify the ones that suit you and your aspirations – otherwise, you’ll feel a little helpless as you attempt to wade through the never-ending cycle of applications.
LawCareers.Net has put together a non-exhaustive list of opportunities happening over the autumn term and beyond.
You might already have an idea of the firms you want to target but if you’re still unsure conduct some initial research into the firm’s work areas, offices, values and culture to see whether you can see yourself starting your career there. Once you’ve created a shortlist, finding the right open day or insight scheme will become a lot easier.
For more on how to research a firm, read LCN’s advice.
Please note that some of the open days/insight schemes listed below have already been held or the deadlines have passed since we first put the list together. Take a look through at the ones still upcoming and keep an eye on LCN’s Events page, firms’ websites and social media for other legal careers events, including firm presentations.
The firm’s first-year programme ‘A&O First’ is open to students in the first year of a three-year course or the second year of a four-year course (undergraduate). The application window for A&O First is between 8 January 2024 and 9 February 2024.
The experience exposes candidates to the work the firm gets involved with through shadowing and networking. You’ll also receive support from trainee buddies and guidance from the firm’s graduate recruitment team.
As part of the scheme, successful candidates will have access to a two-day programme in April and a returner day in September, as well as the opportunity to be fast-tracked to interview for a vacation scheme or training contract with the firm.
A&O First is ultimately designed to help you decide whether Allen & Overy is the right firm for you.
Access Ashurst is a two-week programme held at the firm’s London office. It’s aimed at year 12 students who want to study law or are interested in a career in the legal profession.
Applications for Access Ashurst will open on 2 October 2023 and close at midday on 16 January 2024.
Access Ashurst has been designed to improve access to the profession for young people from disadvantaged backgrounds.
The programme, which takes place across the last week of July and first week of August, offers successful applicants the chance to spend two days with a legal supervisor in departments across the office. They’ll also complete interactive skills sessions and workshops. During the second week of the programme, candidates will gain insights into life as an in-house lawyer by spending a day at five different organisations as part of the Social Mobility Business Partnership. Following the scheme, students will be partnered with a mentor who’ll provide ongoing support and guidance during their studies in year 13.
Candidates should apply for the scheme if they’re in the penultimate year of secondary school and are attending a state-funded, non-fee paying school or fee-paying school on a 100% means-tested bursary.
Candidates applying for the work experience must also meet additional criteria that have been laid out on Ashurst’s website.
Baker McKenzie has several open days on offer, including a:
Bristows’ open days focus on intellectual property (IP), the firm’s key specialism. Students can apply to attend the following workshops:
The firm will be holding open days at its Bristol office on 11 and 13 March 2024. Attendees will hear from the firm’s lawyers at various levels, attend group workshops and find out about the firm’s application process.
Presentation evenings, consisting of a talk on life as a trainee, information on the training contract application and more, will also take place on:
The firm also hosts various ‘food for thought’ events throughout the year, offering advice on several topics with Q&A sessions. The following sessions will be held at lunchtime:
Attend an open day at Charles Russell Speechlys’ offices to hear from trainees, associates and partners about life at the firm and the work they do. Attendees will also attend an applications masterclass with the early talent team on hand to answer any questions relating to the firm’s training contract application process.
The firm’s upcoming open days are as follows:
Applications for the firm’s open days opened on 15 September 2023 and will close on 15 November 2023.
DWF hosts solicitor apprenticeship open evenings to offer interested candidates an overview of the firm, an introduction to the solicitor apprenticeship, application advice, a Q&A with current DWF apprentices and networking opportunities.
Keep an eye on the firm’s website for more information on when these will be held.
You can register your interest for the following open days, with applications opening in September 2023:
Herbert Smith Freehills also runs workshops specifically for first-year students and second-year students who are on a four-year course. Applications for these workshops are open from 1 to 31 January 2024. The first scheme will take place on 2 and 3 April 2024 and the second scheme will run from 15 to 16 April 2024. The workshops include interactive sessions on corporate negotiation, alternative dispute resolution, the firm’s pro bono work and more, as well as opportunities to shadow a trainee solicitor.
The firm hosts four open days over the course of the year. These are open to penultimate-year law students, all final-year students and graduates. The open days are as follows:
This magic circle firm runs a few insight programmes:
Keep your eye on the firm’s website for 2023/24 dates.
The firm runs a first-year insight scheme each year in the spring – applications for this scheme open on Monday 25 September 2023 and will close on Friday 26 January 2024.
The firm’s open day will take place on Tuesday 5 December 2023 with applications closing on Wednesday 15 November 2023. The open day is for undergraduates and graduates and offers a full insight into life at the firm.
With opportunities to discover what goes on behind closed doors at Norton Rose Fulbright, the firm’s first-year open day usually takes place in spring and summer. Successful applications will have access to interactive sessions, workshops, and interview and application advice.
If Norton Rose Fulbright is a firm you’re interested in, keep your eye on its website for information on its next open day.
If you want to learn more about the day-to-day work of lawyers at Osborne Clarke, there are opportunities to do so at its London, Reading and Bristol offices. The firm runs three insight schemes at Osborne Clarke, with one taking place in each of the offices – they’ll be run as a mix of virtual and in-person sessions.
Aspiring lawyers can apply for this scheme from 1 October 2023 until midnight on 28 February 2024.
Several insight evenings will be taking place across Shoosmiths’ various offices so you can gain an insight into the firm’s practice areas, its clients, the training contract and the skills required for you to be a successful solicitor.
The insight evening will be held on specific dates from November 2023 to January 2024 for candidates applying to the firm’s Edinburgh, Birmingham, Nottingham, Milton Keynes, Leeds, London, Solent and Thames Valley offices.
Make sure you check Shoosmiths’ website to find out the specific dates for this year’s schemes when they’re announced.
As well as advice on applications and interviews, Slaughter and May’s open days provide interested candidates with the chance to learn more about working in the legal profession and more specifically a City law firm.
The firm hosts first-year open days in its offices during the spring for first-year students (law and non-law). These will take place on:
Applications for these open days will open on Monday 2 October 2023 before closing on Friday 5 January 2024.
This full-service international law firm usually hosts a virtual insight day in November and December, as well as open days at its London office in January and March.
These opportunities are designed to make you confident about a career at Stephenson Harwood.
The dates for the latest open days are yet to be announced, so make sure you check the firm’s website for the most up-to-date information.
First-year students can apply to attend Vinson & Elkins’ open day, ‘discoVEr’, on 23 April 2024 to find out more about the firm, take part in a commercial awareness workshop, hear from associates on diversity, equity and inclusion at the firm, get tips on producing good applications and more.
Applications for the 2024 open day open on 1 November 2023 and close on 2 February 2024.
Find out what working as a City lawyer is really like with White & Case’s open days, taking place on 14 and 22 November 2023.
For a spot on either scheme, candidates must apply between 11 September 2023 and 29 October 2023.
Once you’ve identified a few schemes, and firms, that interest you, take a look at the application process. It might be the case that some are just open for registrations while others will require you to complete an application form.
'How to prepare for law firm insight days and presentations' offers fantastic advice to make sure you're well prepared!
Whether this is your first time attending such events or you’ve been to a few now, LawCareers.Net has put together a useful guide to networking to help you find your feet at these types of event. It’s vital that you do some sort of preparation both before applying and then again if your application is successful.
Research is key. If you’re given the chance to speak to trainees, associates or partners at a firm, it’s crucial that you’re prepared. How much do you know about:
There are so many other areas you can delve into but the above is a great starting point.
Another aspect that might not have crossed your mind at this stage, is what you wear to these events. Virtual or in person it’s so important that you dress appropriately. First impressions are everything.
Unsure what to wear? Read LCN’s advice now. Interviews, open days, insight schemes, vacation schemes, training contracts – the same rules apply.
As we said, this isn’t an exhaustive list and many firms will be announcing dates for their open days and insight schemes in the coming months, so stay alert to announcements from individual firms and check LCN’s Events page too!