It’s going to be a little scary, but remember – the firm has decided that you’re a good candidate; that’s why you’re on the vacation scheme. Even then, you don’t have to get everything right, often it’s a case of not shooting yourself in the foot during the scheme. That means handling situations appropriately (communicating if there’s an issue), conducting yourself professionally (especially on the socials!) and being friendly (it’s very obvious when you’re trying to be competitive).

Vacation schemes are exhausting. Or at least, that was my experience. It’s not so much the tasks, but going from university life to a day of work was harder than I thought. It’s a new environment where you have to be switched on all day, so it helps to mentally prepare for that. I’d suggest preparing as much as you can in advance e.g. your outfit, travel routes and times (don’t do what I did and turn up late to your first day), and track what you’re doing each day – that’ll help for your TC interview if it’s held on the last day of the scheme.

If you’re getting set quite a few tasks, you’ll have to practice managing expectations. It’s good to get into the habit of asking when the trainee/associate/partner needs the work by. If you don’t think you’ll get it done on time, the best thing you can do is speak to whoever set you the work – it’s much better to give them notice than rush a piece of work or miss a deadline completely. Likewise if someone tries to set you work when you’re at full capacity, briefly let them know what you’ve got to do at the moment and check whether you can do it after.
Proofread your work, many times. Make sure there’s no typos or obvious errors – print it and read it over if necessary. Otherwise, it looks sloppy and that’s going to look bad.

That said, there will be times when you’re not sure what to do in a task, that’s fine, just relay that back appropriately. Prepare informed questions and ask the person who set you the work if you can run through it with them (instead of just saying you’re lost).

When a trainee/associate/partner sets you a task, it often doesn’t make complete sense until you start it, so make good notes – that can be a lifesaver.

It might also be helpful to re-write your notes once you’re back at your desk/after your conversation with the lawyer – that can help you to understand what’s going on and flag up any immediate issues which you might want to ask. It’s quite hard to balance listening and note taking, which for me, led to some of my notes not making sense at all!

Have a to-do list. I found this to be essential for keeping track of different workloads/assessements/meetings during the day. This can combine as a work log. Some firms have their own for you to fill out, but otherwise this is useful when it comes to the TC interview, so you can easily run through what you’ve been working on.

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