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DD keeps getting rejected from vacation schemes?

(37 Posts)
owlnoise Fri 21-Dec-18 13:55:16

Hi there,

My dd is a first year and is applying for law vacation schemes. She spends hours and hours on the applications but keeps getting "thanks, but no thanks". This is after attending events put on by the firm and networking with them etc. She is a straight A/A* girl, and studies at the LSE.

Is there any advice? What kind of person are they actually looking for then? It's awfully disheartening for her.

OP’s posts: |
Cheesycheesytwist Fri 21-Dec-18 13:59:22

They are very very competitive so stick with it and try not to be too disheartened. If she's only first year though is she not applying a year early?? I can see that firms might automatically reject first year applications as they are inundated with applications from second years who are more experienced and gearing up to apply for training contracts??

LRDtheFeministDragon Fri 21-Dec-18 14:24:03

Not a lawyer, but I have been pastoral tutor for law students and I think 1) it's very competitive and 2) as cheesy says, she's only in her first year.

The problem is, law is one of those subjects where, if you want to be really good, you are competing against so many people. Lots at LSE with excellent grades, lots at other places with excellent grades. It's really hard to reset expectations and stop thinking 'I'm in the top 10% of students (or the top 5% or whatever), but 'I'm in a big pool'. In a big pool of equally good applicants, you just have to be thick-skinned about cheerfully shoving in applications, and shaking yourself off when they don't come through. It is really hard. But the plus side is she shouldn't feel discouraged.

GCAcademic Fri 21-Dec-18 14:26:51

Is she running her applications past her department’s careers advisor? I’m not in Law, but having seen some of my students’ applications for internships, they are often not very well-versed in application writing and need guidance.

ThunderInMyHeart Fri 21-Dec-18 14:29:03

I am a solicitor and did the whole VS/TC route.

She is a year early, no? I was non-law so applied in my final year...so she should be applying in her second year. They will not touch anyone earlier than that as they won't plan their recruitment 3 years in advance of someone being able to start their TC.

Needmoresleep Fri 21-Dec-18 14:30:38

The careers service at LSE is very good and a good number of her peers will be going through the same.

DS was trying for economics jobs, but found it all equally disheartening. The one silver lining is that she will be well practiced in time for next year.

She might think outside the box:

1. Try other types of legal experience, such as volunteering with a legal advice centre close to home (or in London if she is paying 12 months rent). Anything that will strengthen her CV for next year.

2. Consider different parts of the country. For example DS tried organisations outside London and ended up in a less popular location, when most of his peers had stuck to London.

3. Again if not legal firms, is there any chance of "clients of legal firms", ie legal departments in the public sector or big organisations.

4. It might be worth popping into City legal recruiters to ask if they may have some temp oportunities over the summer. Reception, post room, whatever. Once through the door she will get a feel for what goes on, and with luck a couple of lawyers will support her by giving her some exposure to their working lives.

And no, if law is anythng like economics, trying to get something in your first year is not too early. The more, and the more varied, the better. And good to have least had the experience of applications at a point when it does not matter as much.

ThunderInMyHeart Fri 21-Dec-18 14:34:09

Also, how many applications is she making? Every other person says 'oh, I just applied to 5', which is utter BS. You need to blanket bomb. I was academically on par with your daughter (I applied nearly 10 years ago) and I likely applied to 50. I ended up with a Magic Circle TC (and multiple Silver Circle offers), but I had a friend with a double First in Law from Cambridge and she ended up at a City firm I had never heard of.

It's a bit of a crapshoot... and a numbers game.

In the only VS I did, of a summer intake of 60 of us (and that's with 99% of applicants from Oxbridge, Bristol, LSE) only 8 of us were made offers. As a PP said, in the nicest way, your DD isn't special on paper when it comes to this profession. Her cover letters and question answers must be exceptionally exceptional.

Does she have extra-curriculars? Language skills? Volunteer experience? She should try for a min-pupillage so law firms can see she has taken an educated guess that she's in law to be a solicitor, not a barrister (that is a common question at interview).

That said, the above will be relevant for her second year when she should be applying.

Theoryofmould Fri 21-Dec-18 14:35:12

My dd is a 1st year law student and she's not applying for anything until next year.

ThunderInMyHeart Fri 21-Dec-18 14:38:48

Reception, post room, whatever. Once through the door she will get a feel for what goes on, and with luck a couple of lawyers will support her by giving her some exposure to their working lives.

Not at a City law firm. That's just not how it works - there's still a rigid hierarchy and lawyers at good firms will be busy. I also would try not to use family friends who are lawyers/nepotism. It doesn't wash well. At best, she could maybe paralegal in her holidays.

trying to get something in your first year is not too early. The more, and the more varied, the better. And good to have least had the experience of applications at a point when it does not matter as much.

Yes, get peripheral law experience now, but law firms will not take her for vac schemes at this stage, guaranteed. In fact, I'm not sure they are even permitted? Hopefully someone with a better current knowledge of the SRA/Law Society will clarify. Making applications a year early might be a hindrance - her name will go on to an HR database within the firm and they might think 'errr, the girl hasn't researched the protocol and processes...she doesn't know what she's doing and isn't omitted to this career'...and HR are the first people that receive the application so they matter!

Xenia Fri 21-Dec-18 15:16:31

May be she just read the websites wrongly because I and a lot of others on here think the timetable is you apply early in year 2 for that year's schemes but I might be wrong.

Xenia Fri 21-Dec-18 15:19:04

"Summer work experience scheme

We run summer work experience schemes for law and non-law students in the penultimate year of their undergraduate degree every year."

www.slaughterandmay.com/careers/trainee-solicitors/work-experience-schemes-and-campus-events/work-experience-schemes/summer-work-experience-schemes//

owlnoise Fri 21-Dec-18 15:27:11

No I have looked myself on the websites, lots of firms these days have vac schemes for first years too.

OP’s posts: |
Needmoresleep Fri 21-Dec-18 15:58:07

DS experience was economics, and he certainly knew a couple of people who sucessfully tempted in the City during the summer, one of whom levered it into a vac job the following summer and then a job. And some employers did have end of first year internships, advertised as such.

LSE careers office are very experienced and they will have been able to flag up suitable schemes. Its not for nothing that it is sometimes described as the world's top vocational college.

I would say anything that gives an edge when applying for the following year. Experience of applications, intterviews, turning up for work, a linked work environment and so on.

BubblesBuddy Fri 21-Dec-18 16:25:37

Target the vac schemes for first years. Volunteer where you can or work in law where you can. What have others done that are successful? It’s early days but doing something over the summer would be helpful. Also, aim lower. Something is better than nothing.

jeanne16 Fri 21-Dec-18 16:29:06

Although not all specify penultimate year students, I think the reality is they don’t want 1st years. She should try to do some law type volunteering if possible that she can dress up in her cv and then apply aggressively the following year.

However it will still be very competitive and she will need to apply to lots of places.

goodbyestranger Fri 21-Dec-18 18:31:24

Yes the fact of being a first year is the problem, she doesn't have prelims yet.

goodbyestranger Fri 21-Dec-18 18:32:16

Also, mine applied for vac schemes after Christmas - not sure how she keeps being rejected at this stage of the year.

Needmoresleep Fri 21-Dec-18 19:15:43

* mine applied for vac schemes after Christmas*

DS was certainly applying for (non law) schemes before Christmas. Many were several stages: applications; computer test; skype interview; day long assessment. They were very time consuming and depressing. There was no real alternative but to keep on trying. The worst ones are those where you get a two week Easter internship which then dictates whether you get a summer internship which in turn determines whether you get a job offer.

It is tough for them. However the careers office will be able to guide. For a small University LSE's ability to help students find good first jobs is remarkable.

goodbyestranger Fri 21-Dec-18 22:27:59

Needmoresleep by vac schemes I was referring to law vac schemes as the OP was. You say your DS was not applying for those vac schemes and therefore of course his timetable may have been different.

Cherries101 Fri 21-Dec-18 22:32:29

Keep applying. Tell her to Call companies to see if any temp positions are available. I work in investment banking so it’s a similarly competitive environment — when I hire 2nd and 3rd year interns I don’t mind if they have temp experience with a bank as long as they have some experience already.

goodbyestranger Fri 21-Dec-18 22:51:19

Having the first year summer holidays off is a good idea anyhow, to prevent crash and burn. I'm not sure I'd encourage my DC to work over the first summer holidays - probably does more harm than good.

Needmoresleep Fri 21-Dec-18 22:54:08

Sorry Stranger, I just thought it would be useful to contribute DS' recent experience.

If law is completely different, then sorry. However looking for post first year positions and applying in the autumn term sound very familiar, so I had assumed the differences were not that great.

Would be lawyers of DS generation seem to have amassed a reasonable amount of experience before applying for the all important end of 2nd year internships. Anything to give an edge. Which is why I think OPs DD should keep on trying, though perhaps with a broader approach.

And in fairness I have repeatedly said that she shpuld seek advice from the careers office. Regardless of the experience on this board, they eill be in regular communication with employers.

MarchingFrogs Sat 22-Dec-18 07:52:53

Although not all specify penultimate year students, I think the reality is they don’t want 1st years.

Is it very naïve of me (admittedly with no first hand experience of legal training) to think that if there are specific requirements or exclusions relating to a post, these should be made clear to potential applicants at the earliest opportunity?

SunnySomer Sat 22-Dec-18 08:21:05

It’s on a tangent, but related experience: the MOJ is currently offering vacation opportunities for next summer. Varied roles which might end up being admin, or court ushers - but are hands-on within the justice system. So - as previous posters have suggested - lowering her expectations but getting relevant experience might be a good idea for next summer.

eurochick Sat 22-Dec-18 08:29:25

I agree that she will be too early for most schemes. The point of these schemes is to fill the training contract spots for a particular intake (most firms will now be recruiting students who will graduate in 2020, then take their lpc and start their tc in September 2021. They will not be thinking about 2022 yet.

I also agree that it's a numbers game.

At this point she should be trying for legal experience outside the formal vac schemes - a week's experience at a local firm, that sort of thing. That will help her application next year.

Btw I'm a law firm partner and involved in our grad recruitment.

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