Work experience/ internships

(59 Posts)
shutthatbloodydoor Sat 29-Oct-16 17:49:41

DD is a 2nd year law student and is currently trying to find something for next summer, even if it's just a couple of weeks.

Most of the major law firms are understandably in London or the big cities, how on earth do they expect students to pay for transport and accommodation if they don't live locally?

The rail costs are prohibitively expensive, we could possibly run to some cheap Travelodge type place but there are lots of students and families that just couldn't do it.

It seems terribly unfair.

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user1474361571 Sat 29-Oct-16 19:10:39

It's often possible to rent student rooms over the summer period for fairly reasonable prices.

When I was a student I funded unpaid internships by saving the money earned from paying jobs at Christmas/Easter and by living frugally through the rest of the year.

HermioneWeasley Sat 29-Oct-16 19:15:23

Well if that's where the firms are what do you expect the university to do about it? Do you really not live within commuting distance of any cities with law firms?

shutthatbloodydoor Sat 29-Oct-16 19:28:23

I don't expect the Uni to do anything.
We will help DD but there must be many students that won't have the opportunity to do it due to lack of funds. It seems a bit elitist.

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bojorojo Sat 29-Oct-16 23:40:35

My DD was a language student who wanted to transfer to Law. To begin with she looked at local solicitors and one of them offered her two weeks. They actually paid her. She also did a lot of volunteering with the National Trust. Volunteering is good as it demonstrates a lot of good things about you.

Yes, getting to London is expensive but the best way out is student halls over the summer. If she wants a city law firm, I would apply first and worry about getting there/living there second. Internships with them are very difficult to get, so see what happens .

Realistically the major city firms are in London but many regional cities have large firms of solicitors. There must be something nearer to home which is commutable? Some may pay travelling expenses. She really needs to go on all the web sites and see what they offer. Some may well offer expenses to interns. Can she stay with friends anywhere?

I think if you do not live near to centres of work, this is an expense parents have to bear unless the employer will help.

GasLightShining Sun 30-Oct-16 01:02:56

Does it have to be in a big city? You may find she gets to do more in a local firm.

We had a law student for a few weeks in the summer. All his mates were in a big city and were treated like skivvies photocopying etc. He was given much more interesting things to do. His experience was much more beneficial

Needmoresleep Sun 30-Oct-16 07:16:43

I think it is OK at this point to beg favours. Londoners understand how expensive accommodation is, and should mind a 20 year old asking about the scope for renting a room for a couple of weeks or months.

If in the vacation, does your DD have any friends studying in London? Do they have friends who have 12 months tenancies? Are there any spare rooms available for short term rent? Do you have any friends or relatives in London? Could your DD write to them asking if they know of anyone willing to rent a room short term? Networks like school's, churches, book clubs, neighbours might well throw up someone who could do with a bit of extra cash, or simply is happy to give a young person a helping hand. (We have a lovely intern staying with us at the moment for that reason, and are enjoying a rural girls take on City life.)

Once an internship is landed the firm might have some form of intranet where you could advertise, though be wary of any request that sounds entitled. All Londoners struggle with accommodation.

I agree with student halls if during University holidays. Who knows, someone from MN might have a room.

I regularly raise my eyes at the 'cost of university' threads where students worry about en suites, or coffees out, and wonder what happens when these DC hit the 'real world'. Young South Africans, Australian or East European graduates seem to arrive, take up low level entry jobs, work hard and progress, whilst sharing rooms and sofa surfing. Some Brits do the same, especially those aiming for arts and media jobs. But for others the opportunities that London offers are not available as they require too many compromises. If this is the case then it is probably better to accept that unless you are hugely successful London is a struggle and you will get a better quality of life by forging a career elsewhere.


LordRothermereBlackshirtCunt Sun 30-Oct-16 07:20:43

My university has a fund to help students who undertake internships. Has your DS checked to see if there is anything like this where he is?

mouldycheesefan Sun 30-Oct-16 07:29:50

Well if elitism is your concern then law seems a strange choice!
The vacation schemes are well worth doing, if not essential. At dh's law firm they only give training contracts to students who have done vacation schemes there. So it's important to do vacation schemes even if there are costs attached. If you son worked some of the summer then that may pay for accommodation and travel whilst on the vacation scheme. You have to look at it as an investment. There are many more student solicitors than there are training contracts. Your son will be doing well to get a vacation scheme placement so he should really go all out to do one, even if it's a bit of a challenge logistically. There is student accommodation available in London during the summer.

goodbyestranger Sun 30-Oct-16 10:20:39

OP both of my law student DD's did several vac schemes in London and were paid for doing them. I don't see how that's elitist. They applied (around December/ January), were interviewed, accepted offers, then arranged a variety of accommodation along the lines suggested (student friends, friends of friends who had twelve month lets at a London uni, boyfriend's parents etc). We live a long way from London, not in any way commutable. I don't see that it's elitist in that I haven't needed to help them financially at all to enable vac schemes, they've been entirely and their university didn't sub them either.

Admittedly vac schemes don't pay the same sort of silly money that banking type internships do but they are far, far shorter - generally two to three weeks max. My eldest DD went to Hong Kong fully paid for her third week, which was good especially as they didn't mind her going travelling after that direct from HK, which was quite a bonus.

I think part of the value of doing a London City vac scheme is to find out whether or not a student is suited to that sort of law. But if a student knows that he or she has no interest whatever in commercial law at the outset, then I don't see any value in a London vac scheme - problem solved!

Anyhow, I don't especially agree that it's elitist. Nepotism doesn't come into it and the schemes are paid.

goodbyestranger Sun 30-Oct-16 10:23:08

that should read entirely self-sufficient.

goodbyestranger Sun 30-Oct-16 10:28:10

GasLightShining students doing the London vac schemes are not in any way treated like skivvies. They're given proper work to do to test their abilities but are also treated royally - wined and dined and partied etc. Because the top firms are in competition for the best student recruits; it's very much a two way thing.

TalkofSummertime Sun 30-Oct-16 10:30:55

I did work experience with a criminal defence barrister who lived nearby. It was actually very good. You could always look into that as a backup option if he can't afford London OP.

shutthatbloodydoor Sun 30-Oct-16 10:35:31

Sorry, elitist was a silly description.
I wasn't aware that the students get paid, DD is sorting it out herself I'm just a confused bystander.
She feels that London is probably where she wants to be and that the Summer Vac schemes are really important.
I panicked, looked at cost of the daily comments and then posted.

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Turbinaria Sun 30-Oct-16 10:38:54

I agree being more inventive and thinking out of the box is what's needed. Some students pay summer rent for their rooms in house shares but aren't actually there, could she offer part of the the rent to stay there. Could she work evenings and weekends to pay her expenses. What about volunteering for the local citizens advice bureau in their legal department?

goodbyestranger Sun 30-Oct-16 10:53:00

Apologies for jumping on it then OP! But really, if she does get a vac scheme, it should be do-able so don't fret too much. A long commute into London wouldn't be advisable for a vac scheme because a number of the evenings end very late and any reasonable person would struggle not to be knackered if you add in a long commute.

Needmoresleep Sun 30-Oct-16 11:28:43

I have checked with our resident lodger/intern. Most of them found rooms via rent-a-room websites. 3 or 4 ended up near Canary Wharf, a couple with families, others with new first time buyers. Hers is a degree related unpaid internship. She worked through the summer (cleaning) to afford the three months in London. I offered to help her find well paid casual evening work (not hard in central London - even signing up for Saturday night babysitting with an agency would earn you a contribution to rent) but she also has university work and wanted to make the most of being in London- which she loves.

As well as the work exposure the internship will mean she is better placed to apply for jobs in London when she graduates, or it may be a one off experience of living in London. But valuable either way.

And fun for DD who is on a gap year and enjoying introducing our lodger to things, like sushi and dim sum, which she had assumed were universal.

shutthatbloodydoor Sun 30-Oct-16 11:36:35

Thanks need. I'll mention the room thing when we speak.
She's just got to get a place now, which is a challenge in itself. She's in a tricky position because she's doing a 4 year course (with a year abroad) so although she'll be at the end of the 2nd year she'll be competing with students who've only got one more year to go.

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goodbyestranger Sun 30-Oct-16 12:12:20

There are some areas such as fashion or publishing where internships are unpaid but very few (worthwhile) political or legal internships are wholly unpaid.

OP why would a year abroad be a negative?

shutthatbloodydoor Sun 30-Oct-16 12:26:08

It's not the year abroad that's a negative (she's doing French Law at a Uni) but the fact that the other 2nd yr students will be in a position to get a job a year before her IYSWIM

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bojorojo Sun 30-Oct-16 12:53:50

My DD did a four year MFL degree followed by one year GDL and then one year BPTC. Six years. Really, a year here or there makes no difference. Also, the CAB is an excellent form of volunteering even if she wants a city firm. If she does not get an intership this summer, then look at the CAB and definitely a local firm of solicitors. My DD did lots with her solicitor work experience - it as valuable. It all adds up to a decent CV. She may also be able to apply for an internship after year 3, so doing a four year degree is no barrier and certainly not a disadvantage.

Also, studying an MFL is always going to be four years so if you really want a degree in 3 years, and so are able compete exactly with 3 year degree students, then do not do an MFL. However, I think a language is always an advantage, not a disadvantage! Look at city firms with offices in France and Switzerland maybe? There are way more law students then training places, (and plenty of non law students apply too) so internships and work experience are very valuable in getting the job with a training contract. I feel you see her four year degree as negative, whereas it is not. It opens up opportunities if she can grasp them.

goodbyestranger Sun 30-Oct-16 12:59:20

Agree with bojo, it's definitely not a negative.

bojorojo Sun 30-Oct-16 20:17:33

Just been chatting to DD. Nearly all her friends working for city law firms are working very long hours. 8 to gone midnight is common. Obviously a career with some firms is seriously exhausting. Stamina and a complete desire to do this job is vital.

goodbyestranger Sun 30-Oct-16 20:47:40

DD1 frequently came home at 2am or 3am during her training contract; not for the faint hearted at all. She managed ok and the firm laid on taxis home, suppers etc but I really hated the idea of her working those hours. It was nothing like as arduous in my day.

bojorojo Mon 31-Oct-16 23:01:12

It does make me wonder how effective employees can be working these long hours? We hear a lot about medics worrying about their capabilities when working long hours and no-one thinks it is a good idea. Obviously needing to be in touch with international clients during their working hours is vital, but one would think a later start would help with the wellbeing of staff in London. It does seem like the last man standing type of test! DD said friends at some city firms did not seem to do the small hours of the morning on a regular basis, but this was not the norm. Going in with eyes wide open is really important I think!

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