5 tips for securing a Vac Scheme

5 tips for securing a Vac Scheme

A law Vac or Vacation Scheme is no holiday! The period of work experience with a law firm offers you insight into what life is really like as a solicitor. From being paid to conduct real work, to gaining vital hands on experience, it is no wonder that Vac Schemes are in high demand. 

To help you stand out from the crowd on your Vac Scheme application, here are five top tips for apply for your perfect position.


5 tips to a perfect Vac Scheme application


1. Do your research


The legal industry is a deeply saturated one, with hundreds of law firms fighting over a limited number of clients. But in no way does that mean that each law firm is the same, and your applications must reflect that reality.

Remember to read up on the core values and principles that make up the culture of the firm, and make sure this is reflected throughout your application. More importantly, by understanding the culture of the firm you’ll know whether you’ll be comfortable working there for the next few years (or even decades) of your life.

If there is a particular practice group, secondment opportunity or case that interests you, mention it! Firms receive thousands of applications yearly and the best way to ensure that your application gets placed in the ‘Yes’ pile, is by making it clear that this is the one firm you want to train at. 


2. Avoid basic errors

After days of work on the same application, you finally have it polished and ready to be sent. You have re-read it numerous times and know it like the back of your hand. But the first thing the head of graduate recruitment notices is that you’ve spelt ‘hte’ instead of ‘the’ and didn’t capitalise the name of the Partner you met at your Law Fair (both mistakes I’ve unfortunately made).

Now this doesn’t mean you should go ahead and scrap the paragraph you’ve included on your meticulous attention to detail. In fact, this is very natural as by the time you proofread your own work your brain already knows the destination of your sentences. A few tips I’d suggest is to:

  • make sure all your academic entries and work experiences are completed
  • in the work experience section, capitalise all the organisation names
  • ensure you have no random capitalisations
  • go through a hard copy of your application
  • give to a trusted friend or colleague to give it a read


3. Don’t be afraid to ask for help

In a recent article with Forbes, Margie Warrell wrote: "It's a sad irony that it's during the times we most need to ask for help that most people are reticent in doing so."

Asking for help in no way portrays weakness. It is a sign of strength and willingness to improve.

Whether you are reaching out to your Careers Service, a friend, someone you know who recently completed a Vac Scheme or training contract at the same firm you’re applying to, make the most out of the help available to you.


4. Apply as early as possible

You have probably been told this a hundred times since your first year of University, so its finally time to listen up!

Whether this means getting applications ready before you get back to University in early September (sounds fun, right?), or gradually working on them throughout the first term, make sure to send them out as soon as applications open.

This is particularly important for firms that receive applications on a rolling-basis, meaning that firms respond to applicants as the applications come in instead of waiting until after a particular deadline.


5. Perseverance

As we all know, getting a vac scheme is tough – plain and simple. The most important thing to remember is that it is a very natural part of the process to fall short at first, but as long as you put in the work, and work to the best of your ability, you will eventually get there.

Just remember that the average age of qualification as a solicitor is 29, with many qualifying much later. Not only does that give you the time to make sure that this is what you want to do, but it should also reassure you that your hard work will eventually payoff.


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About the author:
Mohamed is currently completing his LLM at the London School of Economics and Political Science, where he was a 2019-2020 Student Associate. After his LLM, he will complete the LPC before beginning his training contract at Jones Day.