It’s not just about vacation schemes

Im currently in my first year of studying law and have found that vacation schemes etc are all for second year students and above. I was wondering whether you had any advice on things I could do now that would benefit me and would also make my CV look better for when I do eventually apply for summer schemes.

Most firms, Reed Smith Richards Butler included, will not accept vacation scheme applications from first year law students. However, it is possible to add value to application forms and CVs in the summer break of your first year for when you do actually apply in your second year. There is no prescriptive list of “things you must do” in order to gain a vacation scheme but taking part in activities that actually develop and hone relevant skills will certainly help. Here are a couple of ideas… i) If you are applying for a commercial firm such as Reed Smith then partaking in some general work experience in a commercial environment will give you an opportunity to develop relevant skills and provide you with an understanding of how a business works. It doesn’t have to be an official internship at an investment bank either, working in any business and actively seeking a more in-depth understanding of how they operate will develop your commercial awareness. ii) Gaining some legal work experience, not on vacation schemes, but perhaps in a high street firm or with a legal organisation. This will show an interest in a legal career and also give you more of an insight into some of the skills involved. iii) Finally, anything that demonstrates commitment, hard work and achievement whether related to travel, work, or an interest, will add value by developing relevant skills that are transferable to a career in law. Don’t forget to find time to enjoy your summer though!