Second and Third Year Advice

These years are when there are the most opportunities for you to experience law firms, and potentially bag yourself a job! Hopefully, this guide will give you an idea of what to do when, and put you in a good position to make successful applications!


Many law firms of all sizes offer Vacation Schemes (think of them as official work placements from one to three weeks duration). This generally leads to the opportunity of having some form of a Training Contract interview, which if you are successful, results in you gaining a job offer for when you finish university. Therefore, they are really sought after and are extremely competitive!

If you are considering applying for Vacation Schemes, first you need to decide what type of firm you might want to eventually work for. If you want to work in London doing commercial work, then there are ample amounts of firms to apply to. However, if you want to work in the regions/or in a different area of law, the number of vacation schemes you can apply for are more limited (there are still lots, do not be disheartened!). 

You should then make a list of which firms you are going to target. I spent hours trawling through chambers student guide and firms’ individual websites to see which firms I liked the look of, and when they closed applications. We have included the Vacation Scheme and Training Contract deadlines of most firms (collated by and taken from LawCareers.Net) in the Resources section for you to put in your calendar – this should save you a bit of time!

Having decided where you might want to work, you should then try to establish links to the area and to the firm (as lots of firms like to see you being committed to working for them). A great way of enhancing your application is by applying for Open/Insight Days at the firm before applying for the Vacation Scheme. You can not only ask for specific advice from the graduate recruitment team regarding your Vacation Scheme application, but you can name-drop them in the application to make you stand out!

When making your applications, you should ask your Careers Advisor to check your CV and to provide interview practice – this can really help settle you for when your application progresses to the later stages. Lots of firms use a Watson Glaser style test as part of the Vacation Scheme and Training Contract application process – so we have included an example of this (provided by Linklaters) in the Resources section for you to try out.

If you are unsuccessful in your second year in securing a Training Contract, do not fret – just ask for feedback on your unsuccessful applications, and you should learn and develop enough to have a good chance in your third year!

Good luck!

Benjamin Payne (Vice President 2017-2018)