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LCN Says

Winter vacation schemes: why apply now?

updated on 15 October 2019

The autumn term is always frantic, so it can be easy to overlook upcoming winter vacation schemes and the great opportunities they offer.

Making time to submit two or three focused, tailored applications this term could take you a giant leap forward in your journey to becoming a lawyer. Sixteen law firms are accepting applications for winter vacation scheme places between now and 17 November, among them top City and national firms including Allen & Overy, Ashurst, BristowsJones Day, Hogan Lovells,  Slaughter and May and Squire Patton Boggs

You can view all the upcoming October and November closing dates in LawCareers.Net’s vacation scheme and work placement deadlines section. Non-law students in particular should apply, as some winter schemes are specifically aimed at this group.

Winter vacation schemes usually take place in January and February. And as many recruiters will tell you, these placements are often the best route to a training contract because firms view them as a way to assess candidates more naturally than through a single interview or assessment centre. Some firms even recruit exclusively through their vacation schemes.

But vacation schemes are not only about jumping through hoops to impress firms. Far from it – they provide you with the best possible chance to really see inside a firm and decide whether the reality matches the marketing. Spending time working in a firm will enable you to make an informed decision about whether it is the right fit for you in terms of work, people and culture.

Even if you don’t manage to secure a place on a winter vacation scheme, the experience of going through the application process is highly valuable. If you get to an assessment centre or interview but don’t receive an offer, the lessons you learn from it and the feedback you will likely receive from the firm’s recruiters can be used to give you an even better chance next time – and you will already have proved that you are good enough to land an interview.

Start work on a couple of applications this month. And for advice on that front, read our comprehensive guide to putting together great applications.