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When can I start to apply for vacation schemes and trainee contracts for law?

Hello. I just started my first-week studying law with business at UWE. I want to understand when should I start applying for vacation schemes and trainee contracts. Im I too early or just on time? I want to guarantee myself a spot for a vaccination scheme in the UAE, So im making sure to apply in advance. Also if a training contract is set to 2026 does that mean the year i finish my UD or the year i finish my SQE? Any help is very much appreciated.
Reply 1
I'm a non-law student but I think I understand the law process because I've been researching the process for over a year now. Most law firms ask law students to apply in their penultimate/ final year of uni (ie: 2&3 of a 3 year course or 3&4 of a 4 year course), as well as whilst studying for the SQEs for vac schemes and/ or TCs. However, a lot of firms have a 1st year programme to get involved in, so in completing one of these, you would have a greater chance of getting an acceptance next year as you have connections and networks. An example would be the A&O First Scheme (https://www.aograduate.com/work-experience). My recommendation is to research firms using the Chambers Student Guide (https://www.chambersstudent.co.uk/guides), make a list of about 10, and see what opportunities they have to offer for first years, and what the requirement is for when you're ready to apply for the real thing. Doing virtual work experience with Forage for some of these firms are important too. Also if it's applicable to you, look into various social mobility organisations such as Aspiring Solicitors or Bright Network as they often hold a lot of opportunities. But most importantly, focus on your studies - a law firm won't accept you if you got a 2:2 because you were too busy applying for vacation schemes in the wrong year. Hope this helps!
I agree with mj.spam. You might also want to check if your law degree is of the kind that will mean law firms will not want you do to the PGDL as well. Eg if you were doing history the would but if a traditional LLB they would not. In other words try to find out if your current degree is what used to be called a "qualifying law degree". This will establish whether a law firm regards you as an LLB person or a non law person and that will affect the dates.
Reply 3
Hey! The above info is great. I just wanted to share https://www.commerciallaw.academy which is a comprehensive e-learning platform with all of the key information summarised, and lots more helpful content and resources! Hope this helps :smile:
Original post by Samij123
Hello. I just started my first-week studying law with business at UWE. I want to understand when should I start applying for vacation schemes and trainee contracts. Im I too early or just on time? I want to guarantee myself a spot for a vaccination scheme in the UAE, So im making sure to apply in advance. Also if a training contract is set to 2026 does that mean the year i finish my UD or the year i finish my SQE? Any help is very much appreciated.

Hi @Samij123,

This partly depends on whether your degree will count as a qualifying law degree and also on each individual firm. Usually you apply for a TC 2 years before you commence it so that would be in your second or final year of your undergrad degree. I think the best thing to do in your situation is to identify firms that you have an interest in joining and make a detailed spreadsheet of their TC admission process and key dates. As every firm is different all of them will have slightly different requirements and slightly different timescales.

I hope this helps and good luck!

Sophie :smile:
Reply 5
Hey!

You could start by applying to law firm events, open days and insight days to experience what it is like to work at that law firm. This is a great way to discover whether the work that the firm does interests you and whether you like the firm's culutre. It is also a good way to build a relationship with that firm when you will later apply for vacation schemes/training contracts. Make sure your applications stand out and you have very good answers to the questions "Why commercial law?", "Why the firm?", and "Why you?". If I remember correctly, Commercial Law Academy has a cours on writing successful applications and law firm profiles.

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