When you’re in your second year of your law degree, we recommend applying for vacation schemes and training contracts. Training contracts are the final step to becoming a solicitor and firms usually recruit two years in advance. Applying in your second year will give you time to complete your final year of university and also the Legal Practice Course (LPC). If you secure a training contract with a firm, it could be the case that they will pay for your LPC, saving you a hefty £10,000 to £15,000.
There will be plenty of events to help you with the application process in the upcoming year 2018/19.
If you want to become a barrister, then you need to apply for a pupillage in the final year of your law degree, as chambers recruit a year to 18-months in advance. If you land a pupillage, you will have a year to complete the Bar Professional Training Course (BPTC). This will cost anywhere in the region of £8,000 to £18,000.
first year schemes
There are many work experience opportunities available for first years and these are incredibly useful for those who want to take an early step in figuring out what career suits them. You can apply for ‘Spring schemes’ or ‘Easter Vacation Schemes’ that are hosted by multiple industries: eg the public sector, banking, consultancy, commercial law or other areas within law. These are a form of ‘pre-summer internships’ (lasting up to one week) before applying for summer internships during your second/penultimate year (which range from two weeks to ten weeks depending on the industry. They may involve some work-shadowing, workshops about the industry and networking, all of which will help you get a good idea of the career path and the company culture.
As an incoming First-year student, the thought of beginning your career path by applying to Easter Vacation Schemes seems extremely daunting. For many of you, this will be the first time you have ever had to fill out an application form, practice for a phone interview, do online tests or even go to an assessment centre (going to the firm for a day of interview and group exercises)! Maybe you think the competition is too tough? Maybe you are unsure on a career in law? Maybe you don’t think you know enough about the profession? Well, our advise to you all is to GET INVOLVED!
We are only at university for three years, you’ve made it into a world class institution and believe us when we say, the firms want you! Make the most of the opportunities given to you by attending as many events as possible, enabling you to further your knowledge of a career in the legal sphere and build relationships with Graduate Recruitment teams. The earlier you start, the easier it will be for you to secure yourself a Training Contract when the time comes.
Be organised - keep a tab on application deadlines and law firm workshops
Use your time wisely - you’re never going to be able to attend everything, so do you research and be particular about what you attend
Never copy and paste! - Applications are extremely long and the temptation to copy and paste from one to another is overwhelming - DON’T DO IT - applications need to be particularly suited to the firm you apply, doing this is only a waste of your time.
Don’t beat yourself up - First-year placements are extremely competitive and there are many more opportunities to come. If you don’t get in first time round, keep persevering!
Get involved - recruiters want more than just a 2:1 - show them how you manage your time and responsibilities by getting involved with extracurricular activities like volunteering, playing a sport and/or musical instrument, being on a society committee etc.
Don’t leave things until the last minute - applying to a firm on the application deadline date doesn’t give the right first impression, show them that you’re interested by using your initiative and sending your application in plenty of time
Don’t lose sight of what’s important - you came to university to get a degree, always keep in mind that your studies should be your priority!
BE YOURSELF - pretending to be someone you’re not in an interview might not be hard, but pretending to be someone you’re not at work for the rest of your life will be impossible - if a firm takes you for who you are, its the right place for you.
Ask questions! - utilise your relationship with your law family - they have been through the process first-hand and will happily give you invaluable advise!
First Year Schemes:
Career Paths in Law generally: