Josh Richman - Don’t miss these winter vacation scheme deadlines
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The autumn term is always frantic, which probably contributes to the fact that many candidates wait to apply for spring and summer vacation schemes, missing out on great opportunities to gain legal work experience – and maybe even a training contract – earlier in the academic year.
But 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. Some 18 law firms are accepting applications for winter vacation scheme places over October and November, among them major City and national firms including Allen & Overy, Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner, Herbert Smith Freehills, Hogan Lovells, Linklaters, Norton Rose Fulbright 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 firms’ 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, and so make a lot of their offers to people who have completed a vacation scheme with them.
But vacation schemes are not all 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.