TCLA Vacation Scheme Applications Discussion Thread 2021-22 (#1)

George Maxwell

Legendary Member
Staff member
TCLA Moderator
Gold Member
Premium Member
Junior Lawyer 50
Oct 25, 2021
546
1,048
Hello all - this might not be the right thread to post this is so if there is somewhere/someone more appropriate I should direct this to, please do let me know.

I have 3 vacation schemes coming up this summer. I'm really excited but feel quite underprepared in terms of knowledge. I haven't done my LPC yet, my paralegal experience is not commercial and I didn't really study commercial law modules at university.

I'm hoping we are not expected to have too much knowledge but I would like to have a more general understanding before starting than I do now. I'm worried I will miss out on being able to participate fully if not.

Does anyone have any suggestions on what to read etc for a good background / or overviews of helpful concepts / terminology. I guess it could be LPC / uni type textbooks but again, recommendations / suggestions would be really appreciated!

Thanks in advance!
Hey @georgiejg,

Congratulations on your three schemes! 💪 This is awesome news and a huge achievement.

I agree with @thirdtimelucky about Watson's Daily and Jake Schogger's book. Jake's Training Contract Handbook is invaluable in my experience. @AvniD's point about non-commercial/legal experience still being relevant and important is also spot on.

One thing that I would say is that the expectation of legal knowledge in vacation schemes varies between firms. For example, at White & Case we were all given standardised tasks (in addition to some work given directly by our supervisors), whereas at HSF and Akin there was one standardised task that everyone did, but the majority was supervisor-led. So if you can, try to gain an idea of how you are likely to be assessed. If you are being assessed alongside other non-law students for some of the vacation scheme, I think @thirdtimelucky is right that you will not be expected to be extremely hot on your legal knowledge for those parts (although this will help either way).

I was a non-law student (pre-PGDL) when I did my vacation schemes, so I can only really speculate on what was expected of law students. I would guess that firms are likely to see some evidence of legal knowledge from you. My advice would be to have a look on LinkedIn and see whether there are any other students/trainees who did the scheme and ask them about the firm's expectations. If you can find out from someone who did the scheme as a pre-LPC law student, even better.

Listening to a commercial news podcast daily/every other day, reading Watson's Daily (if you can afford it) and having a look through the resources mentioned above will set you in good stead.

As a more generic piece of advice for anyone doing vacation schemes, my advice is always to use an executive summary (as far as possible) in your written tasks.

Please do reach out any time if you would like any further thoughts or advice! Excited to hear how they go 🚀
 

georgiejg

Active Member
Jan 6, 2022
12
8
Hey @georgiejg,

Congratulations on your three schemes! 💪 This is awesome news and a huge achievement.

I agree with @thirdtimelucky about Watson's Daily and Jake Schogger's book. Jake's Training Contract Handbook is invaluable in my experience. @AvniD's point about non-commercial/legal experience still being relevant and important is also spot on.

One thing that I would say is that the expectation of legal knowledge in vacation schemes varies between firms. For example, at White & Case we were all given standardised tasks (in addition to some work given directly by our supervisors), whereas at HSF and Akin there was one standardised task that everyone did, but the majority was supervisor-led. So if you can, try to gain an idea of how you are likely to be assessed. If you are being assessed alongside other non-law students for some of the vacation scheme, I think @thirdtimelucky is right that you will not be expected to be extremely hot on your legal knowledge for those parts (although this will help either way).

I was a non-law student (pre-PGDL) when I did my vacation schemes, so I can only really speculate on what was expected of law students. I would guess that firms are likely to see some evidence of legal knowledge from you. My advice would be to have a look on LinkedIn and see whether there are any other students/trainees who did the scheme and ask them about the firm's expectations. If you can find out from someone who did the scheme as a pre-LPC law student, even better.

Listening to a commercial news podcast daily/every other day, reading Watson's Daily (if you can afford it) and having a look through the resources mentioned above will set you in good stead.

As a more generic piece of advice for anyone doing vacation schemes, my advice is always to use an executive summary (as far as possible) in your written tasks.

Please do reach out any time if you would like any further thoughts or advice! Excited to hear how they go 🚀

Many thanks @thirdtimelucky, @AvniD and George! All super helpful and reassuring !
 

James Carrabino

Legendary Member
Staff member
Future Trainee
TCLA Moderator
Gold Member
Premium Member
Forum Team
Junior Lawyer 11
Oct 12, 2021
661
1,418
Does anyone know what to do if a TC interview clashes with a vacation scheme for another firm? I am already taking a day off from my VS for graduation so I cannot take any more days off, however, there is only one slot left for the training contract interview of another firm. I am not sure what to do?!
Honestly, you should be able to arrange a short interview before the work day starts or after it ends, and if not, you can claim something university-related (e.g. a compulsory debrief with your advisor)!
 
  • Like
Reactions: lawstudent321

James Carrabino

Legendary Member
Staff member
Future Trainee
TCLA Moderator
Gold Member
Premium Member
Forum Team
Junior Lawyer 11
Oct 12, 2021
661
1,418
Finally today received my MDR rejection, this was my first application in December 2021. This ends my application season!

9 applications:
5 post application rejections
1 post second stage rejection (TW arctic shores)
3 VS offers!

I am so glad I found this forum, it provided some sanity when I was feeling hopeless!
This is really inspiring - congratulations!!
 

PastaPointOfNoReturn

Standard Member
Junior Lawyer
Feb 9, 2022
6
26
Many thanks @thirdtimelucky, @AvniD and George! All super helpful and reassuring !
Hi Georgie! I thought I'd share a really useful piece of advice my mam was told by someone in charge of recruitment at a firm who she met on a train (long story I know). While you're going to be doing loads of group activities and networking, make sure the firm has some concrete work from you to assess you on at the end of the VS- apparently a lot of candidates stumble here by devoting too much time to networking, meeting people etc. so make sure you're really utilising your time the best you can :)

Congrats on getting three VS!
 

Jessica Booker

Legendary Member
Graduate Recruitment
Premium Member
Forum Team
Aug 1, 2019
9,255
13,807
Hi Georgie! I thought I'd share a really useful piece of advice my mam was told by someone in charge of recruitment at a firm who she met on a train (long story I know). While you're going to be doing loads of group activities and networking, make sure the firm has some concrete work from you to assess you on at the end of the VS- apparently a lot of candidates stumble here by devoting too much time to networking, meeting people etc. so make sure you're really utilising your time the best you can :)

Congrats on getting three VS!
Your screen name (it might be where I am reading it as Pasta rather than Past A....) 🤣

Vote Now Adam Levine GIF by The Voice
 
  • Like
Reactions: jo and Sweety_512

Asil Ahmad

Legendary Member
Forum Winner
  • Mar 29, 2020
    1,244
    1,594
    For anyone looking to apply for Macfarlanes direct TC application this cycle I have some helpful advice.

    Yesterday I sattended an event at Weil about reasonable adjustements and spoke to Macfarlanes graduate revruitment.

    They require a high 2.1 which states it on their website but graduate recruitment said that they do consider people with a low 2.1 or a 2.2 with mitigating circumstances like if you got a 2.1 overall you still have a good chance so do an application.

    Secondly in regards gto the resilliance question it can bre academic or personal they said they have seen examples of personal experiences of resilliance.

    I hope this is helpful.
     

    Jessica Booker

    Legendary Member
    Graduate Recruitment
    Premium Member
    Forum Team
    Aug 1, 2019
    9,255
    13,807
    I've got a vac scheme in the summer, and just received an invite for an assessment day for a TC from another firm which is during the scheme. My question is, does anyone know whether a firm will allow you to take a day off during a vac scheme for a good reason?
    I'd ask the firm who has invited you to interview whether they have any flexibility first and explain you are completing a vacation scheme on the date they have provided.

    If they do not provide any flexibility, then ask the GR team at your VS firm whether it would be possible to take a day off. Be ready to explain why you need the time off though and potentially for them to say no if it conflicts with important elements of their vacation scheme.
     

    George Maxwell

    Legendary Member
    Staff member
    TCLA Moderator
    Gold Member
    Premium Member
    Junior Lawyer 50
    Oct 25, 2021
    546
    1,048
    Hi Georgie! I thought I'd share a really useful piece of advice my mam was told by someone in charge of recruitment at a firm who she met on a train (long story I know). While you're going to be doing loads of group activities and networking, make sure the firm has some concrete work from you to assess you on at the end of the VS- apparently a lot of candidates stumble here by devoting too much time to networking, meeting people etc. so make sure you're really utilising your time the best you can :)

    Congrats on getting three VS!
    Hey @PastaPointOfNoReturn (fantastic name by the way!),

    This is awesome advice. Thank you for sharing! I hadn't thought about it in this way, but I think this is right. It is easy to get caught up in networking and exploring the firm. Ultimately though, the minimum required of any vacation schemer is to produce high quality work(!). Networking is definitely a plus, but ultimately the quality of your work (such as attention to detail) will always be a determining factor of receiving an offer or not.

    Prioritisation is really key. My trainee buddies often reminded me that more mundane tasks only need to be completed well. These tasks, such as admin or updating slides, are not going to get you the vacation scheme. However, if you do them poorly, they might be the reason that you don't get an offer. The tasks to focus on are those which require more engagement. For example, a research task or a draft piece of advice. This sort of task can be the difference between you receiving an offer and just falling short(!).

    Also, at HSF, I ended up being assessed on a series of oral presentations that I gave (in preference to a written piece of work that I had produced) as my supervisor thought that this was higher quality work (and at HSF, my supervisors were able to choose a single piece of assessed work that they thought was strongest). So although this piece of work was not recorded in the same way as a piece of written work, it was regarded as substantial enough for assessment.

    Very happy to continue this conversation if anyone is interested!
     
    • Like
    Reactions: Jessica Booker

    lawstress

    Active Member
    Nov 24, 2021
    16
    78
    I'd ask the firm who has invited you to interview whether they have any flexibility first and explain you are completing a vacation scheme on the date they have provided.

    If they do not provide any flexibility, then ask the GR team at your VS firm whether it would be possible to take a day off. Be ready to explain why you need the time off though and potentially for them to say no if it conflicts with important elements of their vacation scheme.
    Hi Jessica, thanks for your response.

    So I asked the firm who has invited me, and they have no flexibility. In your opinion, will asking the firm I have a VS with if it is possible to take a day off hurt my chances when they assess me for a TC? Also, when asking, should I be honest and say I've been invited to an assessment day with another firm?

    Thank you
     

    Jessica Booker

    Legendary Member
    Graduate Recruitment
    Premium Member
    Forum Team
    Aug 1, 2019
    9,255
    13,807
    Hi Jessica, thanks for your response.

    So I asked the firm who has invited me, and they have no flexibility. In your opinion, will asking the firm I have a VS with if it is possible to take a day off hurt my chances when they assess me for a TC? Also, when asking, should I be honest and say I've been invited to an assessment day with another firm?

    Thank you
    You should be honest about it - I think there is more risk in saying it is for something else and then being found out.

    Just explain to your VS firm that you have been offered an AC but the firm is only giving you one date which is unfortunately during your scheme and therefore would the firm have any flexibility in you taking the time off to attend. The worst that can happen is the firm says no and you can't attend.

    Call them (rather than rely on email for this) and then when you speak to them you can get across your tone about your disappointment of being put in this situation and having to ask this firm for flexibility. Also, ensure you make it clear that you are happy to make up the time that week if you cannot take annual leave (or you go over the annual leave amount).
     

    bchn9703

    New Member
    Apr 12, 2022
    3
    0
    Hi all, Just wanted to know if anyone has done the CRS vacation scheme recently. I would be so grateful for a rundown on what the scheme entails and involves and how they found it personally? I'm doing mine in June and am nervous as it is my first vac scheme. Any advice and help related to CRS will be greatly appreciated!
    Hey! I am also doing the vac scheme in June this year and it's my first time too, are you in the London office?
     

    Goose

    Standard Member
    May 12, 2022
    5
    1
    I was just watching this documentary about life on benefits and one person mentioned that forms to potential employers are supposed to be written in block capitals. I submitted my vac scheme documents in lower case and am wondering if it's a bad look?
     

    Jessica Booker

    Legendary Member
    Graduate Recruitment
    Premium Member
    Forum Team
    Aug 1, 2019
    9,255
    13,807
    I was just watching this documentary about life on benefits and one person mentioned that forms to potential employers are supposed to be written in block capitals. I submitted my vac scheme documents in lower case and am wondering if it's a bad look?
    There is no truth in this whatsoever - any form would state to write it in block capitals if it was required.
     
    • ✅
    Reactions: AvniD

    About Us

    The Corporate Law Academy (TCLA) was founded in 2018 because we wanted to improve the legal journey. We wanted more transparency and better training. We wanted to form a community of aspiring lawyers who care about becoming the best version of themselves.

    Newsletter

    Discover the most relevant business news, access our law firm analysis, and receive our best advice for aspiring lawyers.