Editor’s weekly: Roll on February

For the Lawyer2B.com team 31 January cannot come soon enough as we’re desperate to get paid. But for would-be lawyers the end of the month means something completely different – deadline day for most vacation scheme applications.

I hope most of you haven’t left those dreaded applications until the very last day. But if you have then you’d better get your skates on because you really don’t have long.

The importance of securing a vacation scheme cannot be stressed enough because a growing number of firms are cherry picking students directly from their summer programmes. I personally think this is unfair because students develop at different stages of their university life. Indeed, how can you know at the start of your second year that a career as a commercial lawyer is for you? My concern is that if this trend continues then firms may as well start targeting A Level students. But that’s a topic for an entirely separate newsletter.

Meanwhile, what if your first year grades aren’t up to scratch? Should you bother applying (read more)? As with many issues concerning careers there isn’t really a right or wrong answer. Some would argue that it’s better to wait for a further year in the hope that your grades improve.

Others meanwhile say that firms look beyond grades and may be willing to give a student who can demonstrate other key skills associated with a career in law a break. Additionally, as unfair as it might sound a 2:2 from a Russell Group university is going to carry more weight than one from a former polytechnic. I for instance managed to secure two vacation schemes even though I got a 2:2 in my first year. That said, firms are now generally more rigorous in their selection processes than when I was looking for a training contract.

As is always the case the key is to be realistic. That way you won’t be left disappointed.

Good luck.