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Converting your vacation scheme into a training contract - top tips in 2021

LM1985

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Aug 26, 2020
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Hello! I recently completed a VVS (it was shortened to 2 days and structured to have 2 assessments and presentations). I found out I was successful on the vacation scheme and have therefore been invited to the final interview. It is my understanding the firm does not interview all of the vac schemers (unlike many other firms) and it is less formal than the vac scheme interview, but still only successful interviewees secure the contract. I am wondering what sorts of things I should prepare for the final interview? I don't want to risk under, or over, preparing. Thank you :)
 
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Jacob Miller

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  • Feb 15, 2020
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    Hello! I recently completed a VVS (it was shortened to 2 days and structured to have 2 assessments and presentations). I found out I was successful on the vacation scheme and have therefore been invited to the final interview. It is my understanding the firm does not interview all of the vac schemers (unlike many other firms) and it is less formal than the vac scheme interview, but still only successful interviewees secure the contract. I am wondering what sorts of things I should prepare for the final interview? I don't want to risk under, or over, preparing. Thank you :)
    So the actual content will vary firm by firm (it's hard to advise without specifically knowing who the firm is), but generally exit interviews will be benefited by focussing more on things you've learned and taken away from the vac scheme and how they have affirmed your desire to train there. Make sure you have a thorough list of all the activities you've done, people you've spoken to, things you've learned and taken from it, etc etc, as this will be crucial to show you were really switched on during the scheme!
     

    Jessica Booker

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    Aug 1, 2019
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    Hello! I recently completed a VVS (it was shortened to 2 days and structured to have 2 assessments and presentations). I found out I was successful on the vacation scheme and have therefore been invited to the final interview. It is my understanding the firm does not interview all of the vac schemers (unlike many other firms) and it is less formal than the vac scheme interview, but still only successful interviewees secure the contract. I am wondering what sorts of things I should prepare for the final interview? I don't want to risk under, or over, preparing. Thank you :)
    Generally I advise the following:

    - analyse what you have learnt, how that has impacted your thinking of wanting a TC at this firm.

    - be prepared to talk about the things you enjoyed and didn’t. What you have found most interesting/least interesting etc.

    - Also be prepared to talk about what has changed in your application since you applied for the scheme. Sometimes that can be 6 months or so, and you can have learnt/achieved a lot more in that time outside of the scheme itself.

    - be prepared to be tested on your career motivation more. Why is the firm the right one for you?
     

    Jessica Booker

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    The above question made me wonder if there are any common mistakes that candidates make on the final interview after a VS? @Jessica Booker or anyone else, thanks :)
    Usually not taking it seriously enough, or thinking it’s in the bag already because of other feedback they have received during the scheme.

    I think other common mistakes is not really preparing why you want to work for them. I think sometimes people think saying simple stuff like you enjoyed your time at the firm will be enough. The firm is about to invest tens of thousands of pounds into you - they want to be confident that you will enjoy the work and hopefully stick around at least for a few years beyond qualification, so want to understand that you do genuinely feel like this is the right place for you to start your career.
     
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    LM1985

    New Member
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    Aug 26, 2020
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    So the actual content will vary firm by firm (it's hard to advise without specifically knowing who the firm is), but generally exit interviews will be benefited by focussing more on things you've learned and taken away from the vac scheme and how they have affirmed your desire to train there. Make sure you have a thorough list of all the activities you've done, people you've spoken to, things you've learned and taken from it, etc etc, as this will be crucial to show you were really switched on during the scheme!

    Generally I advise the following:

    - analyse what you have learnt, how that has impacted your thinking of wanting a TC at this firm.

    - be prepared to talk about the things you enjoyed and didn’t. What you have found most interesting/least interesting etc.

    - Also be prepared to talk about what has changed in your application since you applied for the scheme. Sometimes that can be 6 months or so, and you can have learnt/achieved a lot more in that time outside of the scheme itself.

    - be prepared to be tested on your career motivation more. Why is the firm the right one for you?

    Thanks so much! This is really helpful 😊
     

    EV

    Standard Member
    May 3, 2020
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    Hey guys! I have my first virtual vac scheme coming up in a week. I will be sitting in various departments throughout the scheme. I know it is important to introduce myself to everyone in the department on the first day but I am unsure what the best way to go about this is in a virtual context (sending around a group email, planning virtual meetups..). Has anyone got any tips/ advice regarding first day introductions virtually? Thanks :)
     

    whisperingrock

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  • Sep 12, 2020
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    Hey guys! I have my first virtual vac scheme coming up in a week. I will be sitting in various departments throughout the scheme. I know it is important to introduce myself to everyone in the department on the first day but I am unsure what the best way to go about this is in a virtual context (sending around a group email, planning virtual meetups..). Has anyone got any tips/ advice regarding first day introductions virtually? Thanks :)
    If your supervisor is on the ball they'll set something up for you. I don't actually think it's necessary to send out a mass introduction email, and its going to be hard to pin down everyone in the department anyway. You're probably better off sticking to making a very good impression on those who you are working with directly and only really reaching out to interesting people who you want to have a coffee chat with.
     

    Jaysen

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    If your supervisor is on the ball they'll set something up for you. I don't actually think it's necessary to send out a mass introduction email, and its going to be hard to pin down everyone in the department anyway. You're probably better off sticking to making a very good impression on those who you are working with directly and only really reaching out to interesting people who you want to have a coffee chat with.
    This ^.

    It's great that you are considering how to make a good first impression, but I would also be wary of being over the top. Sending group emails on your first day could rub some people off the wrong way.

    I also wouldn't say it's important to introduce yourself to everyone on your first day. It's different when things are in-person and it's far more normal to be introduced to the people around you. However, on a virtual vacation scheme, I wouldn't be surprised if you don't have a natural opportunity to do this and you won't be penalised if you don't.

    As whisperingrock said, I would focus on building a great rapport with the people you do meet. Better to have a small number of 'backers' than having everyone know your name.
     

    EV

    Standard Member
    May 3, 2020
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    If your supervisor is on the ball they'll set something up for you. I don't actually think it's necessary to send out a mass introduction email, and its going to be hard to pin down everyone in the department anyway. You're probably better off sticking to making a very good impression on those who you are working with directly and only really reaching out to interesting people who you want to have a coffee chat with.
    This ^.

    It's great that you are considering how to make a good first impression, but I would also be wary of being over the top. Sending group emails on your first day could rub some people off the wrong way.

    I also wouldn't say it's important to introduce yourself to everyone on your first day. It's different when things are in-person and it's far more normal to be introduced to the people around you. However, on a virtual vacation scheme, I wouldn't be surprised if you don't have a natural opportunity to do this and you won't be penalised if you don't.

    As whisperingrock said, I would focus on building a great rapport with the people you do meet. Better to have a small number of 'backers' than having everyone know your name.
    Very helpful - thank you guys! :)
     

    hunt4tc500

    Distinguished Member
    May 26, 2019
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    Hey guys. I am starting my vacation scheme on 21 June and am currently trying to be as prepared as can be. Would it be appropriate to reach out to members of staff in my seats of preference to ask what their teams are currently working? As we will only be given our seat allocations a few days before the scheme starts, I thought this might not be enough time to read around the relevant topics. I would appreciate any other tips in terms of getting prepared for the work. Thanks :)
     

    Jessica Booker

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    Aug 1, 2019
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    Hey guys. I am starting my vacation scheme on 21 June and am currently trying to be as prepared as can be. Would it be appropriate to reach out to members of staff in my seats of preference to ask what their teams are currently working? As we will only be given our seat allocations a few days before the scheme starts, I thought this might not be enough time to read around the relevant topics. I would appreciate any other tips in terms of getting prepared for the work. Thanks :)
    I’d just wait until you are at the firm to be honest, especially if you won’t find out your seat until a few days before.

    You’d basically could be wasting other people’s time as well as your own.

    If the firm knows you have only been told your department a few days before, they aren’t going to expect you to have this huge amount of knowledge about what the department has worked on.
     

    Jacob Miller

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  • Feb 15, 2020
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    Hey guys. I am starting my vacation scheme on 21 June and am currently trying to be as prepared as can be. Would it be appropriate to reach out to members of staff in my seats of preference to ask what their teams are currently working? As we will only be given our seat allocations a few days before the scheme starts, I thought this might not be enough time to read around the relevant topics. I would appreciate any other tips in terms of getting prepared for the work. Thanks :)
    Yeah I agree with Jess here that it's probably better to wait and see where you're allocated and go from there. Where I was given my supervisor's details in advance, I tended to reach out once I was given these, but if I wasn't given them then I jusy waited until someone contacted me as I didn't want to contact the wrong people and send folk on wild goose chases.

    They also may be unable to disclose certain things until the scheme starts, especially as you'd be emailing them from an unsecured external email server.

    Best of luck with your scheme!
     

    lawstudent12345

    Well-Known Member
    Feb 16, 2021
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    Hi everyone, I'm meeting my trainee buddy for my vacation scheme in the coming week (before the scheme actually starts) and am currently preparing a question bank. Would love if anyone has any ideas about what else I can ask, or feels that any of these questions are inappropriate.

    These are the questions I have so far.

    About work:
    1. How is your seat programme structured? What seat are you currently in?
    2. What has been your favourite seat so far? What do you like about it?
    3. What kind of tasks do you do on a day to day basis?
    4. Most memorable deal you’ve worked on, if you’re allowed to share about it?
    5. Why do you like this firm?
    6. Have you done any secondments to clients' or overseas offices?
    7. Advice on preparing for the scheme?
    About other things:
    1. Where are you from?
    2. Do you like working from home? How do you feel about the new remote working policies?
    3. What is the social life at the firm like? Pre-covid and now?
    4. How do you like the food provided at the firm? Good restaurants near the firm?
    5. Did you do a vacation scheme with this firm too? How did you find it?
    6. Can we schedule regular catch-ups?

    Also if anyone has any tips on figuring out who you want to set up virtual coffee chats with? Should I just contact anyone (not the higher-ups of course) that seems to do something interesting?
     

    Jessica Booker

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    Aug 1, 2019
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    Hi everyone, I'm meeting my trainee buddy for my vacation scheme in the coming week (before the scheme actually starts) and am currently preparing a question bank. Would love if anyone has any ideas about what else I can ask, or feels that any of these questions are inappropriate.

    These are the questions I have so far.

    About work:
    1. How is your seat programme structured? What seat are you currently in?
    2. What has been your favourite seat so far? What do you like about it?
    3. What kind of tasks do you do on a day to day basis?
    4. Most memorable deal you’ve worked on, if you’re allowed to share about it?
    5. Why do you like this firm?
    6. Have you done any secondments to clients' or overseas offices?
    7. Advice on preparing for the scheme?
    About other things:
    1. Where are you from?
    2. Do you like working from home? How do you feel about the new remote working policies?
    3. What is the social life at the firm like? Pre-covid and now?
    4. How do you like the food provided at the firm? Good restaurants near the firm?
    5. Did you do a vacation scheme with this firm too? How did you find it?
    6. Can we schedule regular catch-ups?

    Also if anyone has any tips on figuring out who you want to set up virtual coffee chats with? Should I just contact anyone (not the higher-ups of course) that seems to do something interesting?
    Don’t force questions - ask those that you are truly interested in knowing the answer to from that person, and obviously ensure the question is appropriate for the person you are asking.

    I wouldn’t contact “anyone”. Most people do something that is interesting. I’d be more selective. Think about why you are asking that specific person over someone else. You could probably ask 10 other people who have a similar background/experience to them in the firm, so try to think more about what you will get out of that specific meeting out of the others you could go to. There’s also no point speaking to 3 people who are also going to give you a similar meeting. Your time and energy are actually precious on a vac scheme, so organising too many meetings could be risky.

    Also remember that in a hour long meeting you will probably only get to ask about 8 questions, so focus on those most relevant to you finding out more about the firm and why it might be right for you, and tailored to the individual you are meeting.
     
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    lawstudent12345

    Well-Known Member
    Feb 16, 2021
    23
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    Don’t force questions - ask those that you are truly interested in knowing the answer to from that person, and obviously ensure the question is appropriate for the person you are asking.

    I wouldn’t contact anyone. Most people do something that is interesting. I’d be more selective. Think about why you are asking that specific person over someone else. You could probably ask 10 other people who have a similar background/experience to them in the firm, so try to think more about what you will get out of that specific meeting out of the others you could go to.
    Thank you! Yes, I wouldn't ask questions I'm not interested in knowing the answer to, but I don't want to be put in a situation where I can't even remember the questions I am interested in knowing the answer to haha! I find that happens when I'm nervous

    WRT who to contact; that is good advice, thank you!
     

    Jessica Booker

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    Thank you! Yes, I wouldn't ask questions I'm not interested in knowing the answer to, but I don't want to be put in a situation where I can't even remember the questions I am interested in knowing the answer to haha! I find that happens when I'm nervous

    WRT who to contact; that is good advice, thank you!
    Write the questions down!
     

    Matt_96

    Legendary Member
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  • Dec 15, 2018
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    My virtual vacation scheme next week does not have an exit interview, so I know the quality of the work I produce will play an important role in determining whether I am made an offer (alongside social skills etc). This might sound like a vague question but how can I ensure that it is all of a good standard? I am sitting with an insurance/construction litigation & arbitration team.
     

    Dheepa

    Legendary Member
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  • Jan 20, 2019
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    My virtual vacation scheme next week does not have an exit interview, so I know the quality of the work I produce will play an important role in determining whether I am made an offer (alongside social skills etc). This might sound like a vague question but how can I ensure that it is all of a good standard? I am sitting with an insurance/construction litigation & arbitration team.

    I think there's plenty of advice in some of the previous posts about this, but in short I would say quality work = doing the small things well. Proof read to make sure there are no errors, structure your task well (if research based hyperlink to your sources - cases, articles, legislation), make sure that you are providing a commercial perspective on things as well as a legal one. Remember that they do not expect you to be a legal genius and come up with an amazing solution.

    Litigation/arbitration sounds like it will be research heavy. Some advice that was given to me by a trainee on one of my schemes is that sometimes there is really only so much research that you can do on something and conversely the longer you spend researching the further away you could get from answering the question - so to avoid doing this I'd suggest research and share what you have so far with your supervisor/trainee buddy to ask them if you're on the right track/if there are more things you should consider.