Should I be applying for training contracts or Vacation Schemes?

This question comes from a penultimate year law student applying for vacation schemes/training contracts at large international firms in London. He is expected to get a first, attends a top 10 law school but has no work experience or positions of responsibility. He asks simply for advice – so today the question is whether as a penultimate year LLB student you should be applying for training contracts? Or whether it is a waste of time?

Vacation schemes and /or training contracts?

Yes, competition is fierce. However, you need to be in it to win it and yes you have a better chance of getting further with open day, and vacation scheme applications than perhaps a stand-alone training contract application if you have no work experience. However, law firms recruit penultimate law students for training contract all the time with little or more likely no work experience based on their potential.

However, there is no point in applying for firms that are out of your reach academically and more effort should realistically be concentrated on applications for suitable alternatively your time could be used to make your CV stronger for your upcoming applications – voluntary work, part-time job, law clinic, CAB or even simply writing letters to local firms for ad hoc days. It is of course also hard to get, but the effort you put in and all the applications you make will also help fine-tune your applications and help you get used to the application process even if you do not end up getting a training contract this year.

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