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Vac Schemes 2012: The early bird catches the firm!

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    With exams out of the way for almost everyone and results day approaching, I thought it would be a good idea to start this thread where we can disclose our ambitions for vac schemes and help each other with any questions we may have.

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    Like the thread title.

    You sound like you are doing the right things and getting ahead of the game is one of the most important. Out of 5 VS applications late in the day, I got a winter workshop and an open day. Next cycle, applying early, I got 2 VS interviews, 1 consider for next VS, and 1 TC interview out of 4 applications.

    The firms you are applying for are very different. I'd question with such a variety whether you have done enough research on what you want/where you'd fit.

    It's quite common for firms to ask where else you have applied. So, for Freshfields it would be fine to say another MC, a SC and a top end US firm, because you want to see how the cultures compare. If you answer honestly, you run the risk of it looking like an ill-considered scatter-gun approach.

    Good luck with the applications everyone. Be prepared for a lot of hard work and an emotional roller coaster. But when you secure your VS/TC, it would take a bus to wipe the smile off you face.
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    Why apply to Freshfields and not the other MC firms? They're not especially varied, other than focuses on finance vs corporate and where they're located. On my vac scheme at Slaughers I thought their supposedly unique culture wasn't especially different either. Also, FF's offices are like a bunker, small windows etc (although in a lovely location).
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    (Original post by peachmelba)
    Like the thread title.

    You sound like you are doing the right things and getting ahead of the game is one of the most important. Out of 5 VS applications late in the day, I got a winter workshop and an open day. Next cycle, applying early, I got 2 VS interviews, 1 consider for next VS, and 1 TC interview out of 4 applications.

    The firms you are applying for are very different. I'd question with such a variety whether you have done enough research on what you want/where you'd fit.

    It's quite common for firms to ask where else you have applied. So, for Freshfields it would be fine to say another MC, a SC and a top end US firm, because you want to see how the cultures compare. If you answer honestly, you run the risk of it looking like an ill-considered scatter-gun approach.

    Good luck with the applications everyone. Be prepared for a lot of hard work and an emotional roller coaster. But when you secure your VS/TC, it would take a bus to wipe the smile off you face.
    Actually, the firms I am considering are not set in stone as this is early in the day. They are merely the firms that I have entered and met with and explored their offices and truly liked.
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    (Original post by legal_beagle)
    Why apply to Freshfields and not the other MC firms? They're not especially varied, other than focuses on finance vs corporate and where they're located. On my vac scheme at Slaughers I thought their supposedly unique culture wasn't especially different either. Also, FF's offices are like a bunker, small windows etc (although in a lovely location).
    I loved CC offices and the firm in general.

    But to be honest, I am not especially keen on applying to the Magic Circle as I really don't believe I have a great shot at them (I have great academics and set for a solid 2:1 but not confident about interviews there as I've heard some terrible stories of partners mocking the interviewees). I was attracted to Freshfields by visiting them and also their awards they have won and other news items I have researched.
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    (Original post by marrythenight)
    I loved CC offices and the firm in general.

    But to be honest, I am not especially keen on applying to the Magic Circle as I really don't believe I have a great shot at them (I have great academics and set for a solid 2:1 but not confident about interviews there as I've heard some terrible stories of partners mocking the interviewees). I was attracted to Freshfields by visiting them and also their awards they have won and other news items I have researched.
    Interviews in the Magic Circle are generally no different to those at other city firms, so I wouldn't be put off by that. I also find it incredibly unlikely that partners would bully you.

    And if you're not confident about interviews, it's worth doing as many as possible - this is partly because you get more confident the more you do, and partly because there's a degree of luck in whether you click with your interviewer, how you're feeling on the day and so on, and therefore you want to spread your bets a bit.

    Really, there isn't some unbridgeable chasm between the MC and other firms - the terms MC/SC are an invention of the media, and are pretty arbitrary as a guide to the difficulty of obtaining a training contract with a particular firm for a number of reasons.
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    (Original post by legal_beagle)
    Interviews in the Magic Circle are generally no different to those at other city firms, so I wouldn't be put off by that. I also find it incredibly unlikely that partners would bully you.

    And if you're not confident about interviews, it's worth doing as many as possible - this is partly because you get more confident the more you do, and partly because there's a degree of luck in whether you click with your interviewer, how you're feeling on the day and so on, and therefore you want to spread your bets a bit.

    Really, there isn't some unbridgeable chasm between the MC and other firms - the terms MC/SC are an invention of the media, and are pretty arbitrary as a guide to the difficulty of obtaining a training contract with a particular firm for a number of reasons.
    Thanks for this advise and also
    (Original post by hmaus)
    ..
    too for your advice.

    Actuallty, I was talking to an NQ at DLA Piper and she told me how she hated one MC firm at which she was interviewed because they assumed she was just some dumb blonde and they asked her really very complex legal questions despite knowing she was a non-law grad and she left feeling they had just had a bit of fun at her expense, which I thought was quite sad really.
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    Ladies & Gents

    Here is my situation. I sorta slacked in first year, but am looking at a 2:1. I made a complete shambles of Contract, which incidentally in my opinion is going to be the one module that any City firms actually care about. My questions:

    1) In general, if I score a 2:2 or less in Contract will this preclude Magic to Silver Circle firms even considering me?

    2) If I score high 2:1s in the other three, and potentially Firsts in EU and Public can this mitigate the contract result?

    3) In general, what are the best ways to mitigate the poor result in Contract when it comes to application?

    4) I've got work experience arranged at a local firm which is a Legal 200 firm in Bristol... however, as I'm looking to apply for City firms, how the hell can I with zero contacts get any sort of experience or insight into the high level corporate stuff that they practice in? When the City firms look for ways people have distinguished themselves in respect of work experience in their first year summer holidays, are they looking for experience in the fields they practice in or just anything that shows inititative and motivation and skills etc etc - as I have a lot of that sort of stuff going on right now. Any help is MUCH appreciated - I acknowledge many of my questions are picky but i'm getting worried now seeing how competitive it is out there.
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    (Original post by chriswalker)
    Ladies & Gents

    Here is my situation. I sorta slacked in first year, but am looking at a 2:1. I made a complete shambles of Contract, which incidentally in my opinion is going to be the one module that any City firms actually care about. My questions:

    1) In general, if I score a 2:2 or less in Contract will this preclude Magic to Silver Circle firms even considering me?

    2) If I score high 2:1s in the other three, and potentially Firsts in EU and Public can this mitigate the contract result?

    3) In general, what are the best ways to mitigate the poor result in Contract when it comes to application?

    4) I've got work experience arranged at a local firm which is a Legal 200 firm in Bristol... however, as I'm looking to apply for City firms, how the hell can I with zero contacts get any sort of experience or insight into the high level corporate stuff that they practice in? When the City firms look for ways people have distinguished themselves in respect of work experience in their first year summer holidays, are they looking for experience in the fields they practice in or just anything that shows inititative and motivation and skills etc etc - as I have a lot of that sort of stuff going on right now. Any help is MUCH appreciated - I acknowledge many of my questions are picky but i'm getting worried now seeing how competitive it is out there.
    (1) Baker and McKenzie I know require 60+ in contract and tort

    (2) High results in the others MAY mitigate the low contract result IF the contract result is a 58/59 at B+M anyway (the only firm I heard of that cares about specific results in contract and tort)

    (3) Not sure - if you don't have a good reason, then you can't...apart from pure honesty

    (4) The firms know it's hard to get work experience in first year. You are NOT expected to have secured work experience in the City at the end of first year. What the firms do care about though is work experience that is law related, so high street firms would definitely be a bonus! Anyway to show your interest basically, so even shadowing a barrister for a day is good enough!

    Which university do you read law at? Which firms are you looking to apply to?
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    I'm at KCL - about the firms, you know what, I don't really know to be quite honest which particular ones tickle my fancy, obviously I'm going to have to work on the basis of when I get my results.... having said that I am really keen to work overseas, so could anyone advise, of any particular firms which maintain offices internationally - particular in Asia or the Middle East!?

    And about the interviews, you really don't have anything to lose - go for it. The idea of an interviewer being rude to def does not put me off applying for MC firms!
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    (Original post by chriswalker)
    I'm at KCL - about the firms, you know what, I don't really know to be quite honest which particular ones tickle my fancy, obviously I'm going to have to work on the basis of when I get my results.... having said that I am really keen to work overseas, so could anyone advise, of any particular firms which maintain offices internationally - particular in Asia or the Middle East!?

    And about the interviews, you really don't have anything to lose - go for it. The idea of an interviewer being rude to def does not put me off applying for MC firms!
    Most City firms have international offices. The US firms generally have many US offices and a London office. If you want to work overseas, your best bet is to apply to the City and try to go on secondment to an international office (rather than client secondment) which many firms would be happy to arrange as one of your seats during training.

    By going to a great law school like KCL ( ) you have a good shot!
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    (Original post by marrythenight)
    but not confident about interviews there as I've heard some terrible stories of partners mocking the interviewees). I was attracted to Freshfields by visiting them and also their awards they have won and other news items I have researched.
    Myth, there is no reason why partners in the MC would be ruder than parters at other high-end commercial firms. You need to remember that MC firms have 200ish partners and 1500ish lawyers in London, obviously there are a lot of different personalities in there.

    (Original post by chriswalker)
    I'm at KCL - about the firms, you know what, I don't really know to be quite honest which particular ones tickle my fancy, obviously I'm going to have to work on the basis of when I get my results.... having said that I am really keen to work overseas, so could anyone advise, of any particular firms which maintain offices internationally - particular in Asia or the Middle East!?

    And about the interviews, you really don't have anything to lose - go for it. The idea of an interviewer being rude to def does not put me off applying for MC firms!
    Herbert Smith, Clyde & Co and a fair number of others are strong in these regions. Bear in mind that turnover in these regions (esp. the Middle East) is quite high, a much lower proportion of people in the offices of such firms in the Middle East/Asia will have trained at that firm than in London, so going to a particular firm doesn't stop you going to another abroad as an associate.

    (Original post by chriswalker)
    Ladies & Gents

    Here is my situation. I sorta slacked in first year, but am looking at a 2:1. I made a complete shambles of Contract, which incidentally in my opinion is going to be the one module that any City firms actually care about. My questions:

    1) In general, if I score a 2:2 or less in Contract will this preclude Magic to Silver Circle firms even considering me?

    2) If I score high 2:1s in the other three, and potentially Firsts in EU and Public can this mitigate the contract result?
    It will mitigate the contract result, but obviously its a disadvantage. Whether its a big one or a small one depends on the firm.

    3) In general, what are the best ways to mitigate the poor result in Contract when it comes to application?
    None in particular other than having a strong application and strong academics in all other respects.

    4) I've got work experience arranged at a local firm which is a Legal 200 firm in Bristol... however, as I'm looking to apply for City firms, how the hell can I with zero contacts get any sort of experience or insight into the high level corporate stuff that they practice in? When the City firms look for ways people have distinguished themselves in respect of work experience in their first year summer holidays, are they looking for experience in the fields they practice in or just anything that shows inititative and motivation and skills etc etc - as I have a lot of that sort of stuff going on right now. Any help is MUCH appreciated - I acknowledge many of my questions are picky but i'm getting worried now seeing how competitive it is out there.
    This is what vacation schemes are for.

    Anything that shows motivation/initiative/teamwork etc. is good. But do try and get some vac schemes.
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    slacked first year and got a solid 2.2 with little to no extra curricular activities done. Getting a vac scheme should be a right laugh. But yes, I want to join this thread
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    Thanks for your replies - Jacket, i've been a long time lurker on this forum even back in 2008 when I was thinking of applying for law.... I seem to remember you here back then too! If I may ask, are you working in the city now? If so, i'm sure you did a lot of interviews if you did any vacation schemes, but typically what sort of stuff do they ask you about - do you have to discuss the law itself in depth, and is there extensive discussion on the economy and financial matters etc?? I'm sure I could dig up this stuff somewhere myself but i'm pretty lazy to trawl through countless threads......
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    P.S. if I score a 2:1, and i'm at KCL, will MC firms consider me, in your humble opinion?
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    P.S. one irrelevant questions to vac schemes, but after hearing from people, and from our teaching staff that KCL has one of the best law schools in the country, I checked the Times University rankings for the first time in years and was quite shocked to see it ranked 16TH. Is KCL actually regarded that highly!??
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    (Original post by chriswalker)
    P.S. one irrelevant questions to vac schemes, but after hearing from people, and from our teaching staff that KCL has one of the best law schools in the country, I checked the Times University rankings for the first time in years and was quite shocked to see it ranked 16TH. Is KCL actually regarded that highly!??
    It's a mistake to think that the league tables reflect exactly what people think about any particular school (because the league tables are themselves informed by what people think, and in turn influence what people think)—rather, schools divide themselves broadly into three categories (with minor disputes about the borders):

    Oxbridge.

    Russell League (including the London universities, e.g. SOAS, Queen Mary's, etc.).

    Everyone else.

    A 2.1 from the top two categories (a higher 2.1 will be required the further down the category we go, e.g. a 63 from Oxford will get you an MC interview, but you might need something closer to a 67 from Queen Mary's) will get you an interview at British law firm (provided everything else is good).

    In your case, a solid 2.1 from KCL will get you an MC interview (a 65 or so), but this fluctuates depending on other factors (work experience, extra-cirriculars, how well you fill out the form, etc.).
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    Sorry but there is a degree of certainty here which simply isn't accurate.

    Even Slaughters recruit from a variety of unis, and some of those are not in the Russell Group. Durham, York, St andrews, Exeter (non RG) graduates, for example, are more commonly found than say Liverpool which is RG.

    A 2.1 at a precise mark from anywhere does NOT guarantee interviews. Firms want the complete package as you go on to point out: consistently strong academics, extra curriculars, work experience, volunteering, form filling ability

    (Original post by Brevity)
    schools divide themselves broadly into three categories (with minor disputes about the borders):

    Oxbridge.

    Russell League (including the London universities, e.g. SOAS, Queen Mary's, etc.).

    Everyone else.

    A 2.1 from the top two categories (a higher 2.1 will be required the further down the category we go, e.g. a 63 from Oxford will get you an MC interview, but you might need something closer to a 67 from Queen Mary's) will get you an interview at British law firm (provided everything else is good).

    In your case, a solid 2.1 from KCL will get you an MC interview (a 65 or so), but this fluctuates depending on other factors (work experience, extra-cirriculars, how well you fill out the form, etc.).
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    (Original post by peachmelba)
    Sorry but there is a degree of certainty here which simply isn't accurate.

    Even Slaughters recruit from a variety of unis, and some of those are not in the Russell Group. Durham, York, St andrews, Exeter (non RG) graduates, for example, are more commonly found than say Liverpool which is RG.

    A 2.1 at a precise mark from anywhere does NOT guarantee interviews. Firms want the complete package as you go on to point out: consistently strong academics, extra curriculars, work experience, volunteering, form filling ability
    I espouse the degree of certainty that statistics have: there are always exceptions, but it's probably not a good idea to give advice according to exceptions.

    Your point about Slaughter & May is completely true—I completely didn't know which universities composed the Russell Group. All the universities you mention would have an equal (and sometimes higher) chance than the Russells.

    I think the 'complete package' idea is misleading, it espouses the idea that law firms demand something that nobody has, for nobody is complete. Rather, I prefer to think that law firms want a minimum level in everything that I mention, but that level can be pretty low if your academics are good enough (which I think is by some way the most important factor—or rather, good academics will make up for a lot of deficiencies). A 67 from Oxbridge will almost always get you an interview (with minor extra-ciricculars and good form-filling).
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    I quoted statistics on another thread but can't seem to cut and paste on TSR anymore.

    Here's the link (post no 8) http://www.thestudentroom.co.uk/show....php?t=1665716

    Actually, I don't think what we're saying is that different.

    But everyone I know who has an MC TC does have something approaching the complete package (not that anyone is perfect, it's more about box ticking). And I know people with good Oxbridge 2.1s who are struggling to find a TC.

    A first from a decent uni is a big help in getting interviews though.


    (Original post by Brevity)
    I espouse the degree of certainty that statistics have: there are always exceptions, but it's probably not a good idea to give advice according to exceptions.

    Your point about Slaughter & May is completely true—I completely didn't know which universities composed the Russell Group. All the universities you mention would have an equal (and sometimes higher) chance than the Russells.

    I think the 'complete package' idea is misleading, it espouses the idea that law firms demand something that nobody has, for nobody is complete. Rather, I prefer to think that law firms want a minimum level in everything that I mention, but that level can be pretty low if your academics are good enough (which I think is by some way the most important factor—or rather, good academics will make up for a lot of deficiencies). A 67 from Oxbridge will almost always get you an interview (with minor extra-ciricculars and good form-filling).
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