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Should I mention other firms on vacation scheme applications?

updated on 26 January 2021

Dear Oracle

I'm busy completing applications for spring and summer vacation schemes before the big deadline on 31 January. Can I list placements at other firms that I've got lined up in my applications?

The Oracle replies

It’s great to hear that you’re getting ahead of the game by applying for spring and summer placements – many law firms have set their vacation scheme application deadlines in January, with 31 January 2021 the big deadline shared by dozens of firms.

You should definitely include details of forthcoming placements and vacation schemes as long as your place is confirmed. Firms completely understand that candidates are finding out what suits them and will be impressed, not turned off, if you have other placements already on your CV – even if they are at rival firms. Remember also that it’s not just candidates who are competing for places – the firms are competing over you and evidence of other legal work experience is just further proof that you are an attractive candidate.

Any and all legal work experience will be a valuable addition to your CV, while you could also find links between the firms you’re currently applying to and those you're doing work experience at – for example, do they have a similar practice? Do they have similar clients? Are they competitors? Briefly mention the broad area of work that you are pursuing (and make sure the firm to which you apply also does the same work) so that you can prove your interest in a particular field.

You may also know that vacation schemes normally fill up well before the application deadline – recruiters get so many applications that it makes much more sense to look at them as they come in, rather than wait for the deadline to start the reviewing process. Some firms even interview before the deadline. The advice is normally to get your applications in as soon as possible.

This can be tricky if you have work placements lined up that you want to include in your application. Rather than wait until you've done the placement before submitting your form, bear in mind that most online application forms allow you to add extra information after submission – but only up until the deadline. You should therefore be able to submit your form in advance and then add more details of work placements later on, once you've completed it.

For more advice on making vacation scheme applications, see LCN’s practical guide to online application forms and our tips on formal application writing.