By Rumaan 25 Jul 2022 8 min read

The do's and don'ts during vacation schemes!

In preparation for training contract applications, vacation schemes allow you to "test drive" different law firms. It is well worth the effort to make sure you stand out and impress the law companies as they are an important step to a graduate job as a trainee solicitor.

How well you do on your vacation scheme will probably influence your prospects of getting a training contract with the firm. Many law firms utilise their vacation schemes as opportunities to discover graduate trainees. During the training contract, the candidates can demonstrate their talents in a real-world setting, and the law firm can determine whether they would be a good fit for the company.

Although obtaining a legitimate work placement does not ensure you will receive a training contract, it does put you in a better position. 

Here are some great recommendations for how to approach your vacation scheme to make the most of your time there and increase your chances of landing a training contract as a result.


Research the company

You have been really lucky if your vacation scheme application miraculously got through without you doing any research on the company. Do not count on this as good fortune when the training contract begins; someone will notice if you show up on your first day at work unaware of the important departments or with a shaky understanding of the fundamental principles.

Knowing a lot about the company you work for will enable you to ask thoughtful questions demonstrating your interest and drive. It might also prove to be a huge asset for you because you can work effectively and be very impressive if you understand how the company operates and have a sense of its ideals.


Avoid the bench

It is quite understood that the first few days can be intimidating, especially when everyone else seems to know everything. But it is time to come out of your shell once you get over the initial trauma of not knowing where the restrooms are. Make an effort to participate and develop the habit of striving to be helpful. Students who lack enthusiasm or are unwilling to assist trainees and colleagues are unlikely to be hired.


Be confident but not arrogant

Keep in mind that joining the firm is just the first of several steps you must take to become qualified to practise law. Employers want to know that you are skilled and competent but do not want to deal with overconfident students. Naturally, confidence is crucial, but you should also demonstrate your willingness to learn. Knowing when to speak and when to listen is a crucial ability to develop.


Avoid being fearful

Vacation schemers frequently have access to high-profile people. However, they will not always get to meet the employer's boss. They ought to be treated like a lecturer or another person in a senior position they are accustomed to working with, and they should not be afraid to ask questions.

In these circumstances, students must take risks. Students on vacation schemes have a lot of interactions with senior citizens during a tightly packed two-week period. It frequently happens during semi-formal occasions, such as a breakfast briefing on a specific practice area, following which questions are raised. It is normal to feel anxious when speaking to partners and having your peers watch you, but it pays off to take a chance and ask a question. Once you do it, you've established the tone for your entire vacation plan. It will be much simpler to raise your hand the following time.


Avoid acting inappropriately

The type of sociability employers are looking for is not demonstrated by using the placement as an opportunity to scout local talent. Numerous terrifying tales of people trying it on with HR graduate recruiters, other vacation schemers, and even trainees and associates have been told. Even though it is conceivable that you might fall in love, you are unlikely to end up with a training contract after your placement. In a nutshell, act professionally, and avoid sentimental attachments and weird social behaviour. 


Deal with everyone professionally

There is a chance that vacation schemers get carried away after enjoying the company of a law firm's senior partners and fail to treat lower-ranking staff employees with the respect they deserve. These omissions often find their way to graduate recruitment teams, whose responsibility is to evaluate vacation schemers.

Everyone should be treated equally, particularly secretaries and paralegals. All of your coworkers will contribute to your performance evaluations and the work you are assigned. If you believe you are superior to others, they are unlikely to be complimentary of you.

Remember that some people have worked for firms for a long time, and even though their exact "job description" might not match a partner's, it would be dangerous to undervalue their influence. Law firms are tiny communities, and in small groups, people talk. By treating everyone fairly, the likelihood of receiving negative criticism is reduced.


Maintain a professional tone

Always put professionalism first. Maintain your composure, courtesy, and respect at all times. Maintain the professionalism that got you on board the vacation plan in the first place, even when you start to feel more at ease and remember names and faces.


Leave an impression

One of the most common concerns that vacation schemers have is how they may best be remembered in a favourable light and, as a result, get themselves to the head of the line for training contracts. In most cases, the best and most effective way to accomplish this is to maintain a manner of conduct throughout the placement experience comprising two to three weeks characterised by a combination of charm, politeness, and self-assurance. Nevertheless, going above and beyond this and demonstrating a high level of engagement with the organisation's life is beneficial.


Do not forget to enjoy yourself

Engage in conversation with your coworkers, throw yourself into the work, and make it a goal to learn as much as possible during your placement. You want to show how self-assured you are and how at ease you are working in the setting that the law firm provides for its employees so that they can envision you as an important cog in the team in the future.


Do not read the Financial Times, front to back every single day

Instead, it would help if you made it your goal to zero in on a few pertinent wider business stories and spend the summer delving further into each of those stories. If you try to read the entire newspaper from front to back in an effort to become an expert on everything, you won't retain any of the information. Instead, select a story in an area that interests you and is important to the firm where you are, and then read about advancements in that field every day. If you take this method, you will hopefully be able to have a really good conversation with a partner and wow them with your expertise.


Photo by Mikael Kristenson on Unsplash