The one thing that haunts every second year student’s mind who has an burning aspiration to become a solicitor; not getting that elusive vacation placement. In the past two weeks I have spoken to a number of second year students who seem very worried that they will not be able to break into the legal profession if they do not get a vacation placement. But, never fear! In case you haven’t already had this information, it is not the end of the world if you don’t get one:
1. You can still apply for training contracts. The deadline for most training contracts this year is 31st July. Obviously it does look good on your CV/application that you have done a vacation scheme and it is a great way to get a training contract. However, it is not a requirement to get a training contract. If you can’t get any legal experience before July, my advice would be to get some commercial experience.
2. There are other ways into the legal profession. There are ways to pay for the LPC yourself; you could get a job as a paralegal; you could work in another commercial industry and try again in a couple of years. From my experience, firms tend to like life experience as well as academic achievement; in my recent assessment day with DLA Piper, I was surprised to find how many paralegals were there. The fact is that not every law student in the country gets a vacation placement and/or training contract. Therefore you’ve got to think of what will make you a better candidate if you want to apply again in the future.
3. Have a Plan B (or C or D). You might not be able to break into the legal profession immediately after university so you have to have a back-up plan. Don’t leave this until you leave university; start planning it now!