Students face heavy competition for vacation places as firms slash schemes

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  • It is unfortunate that training contract numbers and vacation scheme placements are being reduced, however these are signs of the time. The Warwick student seems to be forgetting that law is a competitive industry. If training contract numbers are being reduced then it only seems sensible that vacation scheme numbers should follow. It seems silly to have loads of vacation scheme placements and few training contract vacancies.
    The student argues that the reduction in places might lead to "alot of students rethinking whether law is really for them", as if this were a bad thing. It is tough, it is difficult and it is demanding but that is the nature of competition. The Law Society was correct when it said that students should be totally honest with themselves when evaluating whether they were good enough to get a place.

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  • I agree absolutely agree with the previous poster.
    However I am stunned by claims that there has been 'lack of interest' in certain schemes. Let's be honest - if this was the case, firms could offer places to candidates that they cannot accommodate on the 'popular schemes' on those that they claim are unpopular.
    The claim that there is a lack of interest is insulting to the cohorts of sufficiently qualified students who remain without a training contract or a vacation scheme.
    In my opinion, the behavior of firms such as Eversheds (suspending Graduate Recruitment altogether) is at least commendable for its honesty.

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  • I cannot see much benefit in short "insight" visits and open days. One of the purposes of a vacation scheme is to get the firm know the student. The students are doing enough research on the firms anyway. A vac scheme is like a prolonged assessment centre without the stress of a flash performance. Without the impression that I made during my vacation placement I would have never secured a training contract.

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  • I fully agree that firms should be honest. I very much doubt that there is a "lack of interest" in A&Os easter vs. Similarly, I know a friend who received a rejection letter from a firm that had cancelled its graduate recruitment programme. The email read along the lines of: "Thank you for your application....many excellent candidates....you have been unsuccessful" etc. I found that wholly offensive, implying a candidate wasn't good enough when in fact they had made the decision not to recruit anyone.

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  • Terrible time to be trying to enter the law, I fear for the lost generation. Investment banking will pick up first - stay away from the law

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  • I agree with the above posts but graduates should remember that not doing a vacation scheme does not automatically mean that you won't get a training contract, even in these days. I have just qualified at one of the top ten firms (mentioned in this article) and I didn't do a vacation scheme. I had other useful experience on my CV and did well on my assessment day. Don't give up.

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  • I agree with the above post. I have secured a Training Contract for 2011 and I did not attend a vacation scheme. Instead I became a Paralegal after university and worked my way up that way. For me, leaving university and getting the experience was a far more sensible move than jumping into the LPC and taking a gamble that I would secure a Training Contract. Having that practical experience really helps for the assessment day also. Of course, the problem is getting that Paralegal job, perseverance is everything.

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  • Not all firms are cutting back. Mine has taken a strategic decision to maintain trainee recruitment - you have to think further ahead than the next quarter

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  • This happens every cycle, things turn down, firms cut back, the number of new entrants to the profession shrinks - then in 3 years time all firms will be fighting for talent and salaries will sky rocket. It happened 2000/2001 and again 2006/2007. Its just unfortunate if you want to train now.

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  • Not sure that some of you are being realistic about the business world. You have to remember that many law firms have made very talented, qualified lawyers redundant over the last 12 months and many are still worried for their jobs. It just does not sit well with this to then spend hundreds of thousands of pounds on vac schemes. It is as simple as that. Whilst law firms have a moral obligation to those entering the profession they have a higher and more concrete and credible obligation to those people already working in their firms to do what they can to ensure job security for those people who have dedicated their lives in the boom times to their employer and thos people have to come first.

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  • What I don't understand is how these firms can possible justify axing these schemes and training programs when they cost so little of their overall expenses to run and provide them with the best oppurtunities to handpick their future employees.

    If they were at all serious about saving money during these 'hard times' recruitment schemes and training contracts would actually be the last things they look to get rid of, considering the longer-term investment new recruits make to each firm.

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  • The Warwick University student makes the point that there'll be a lot of students rethinking whether law is really for them. Surely this is no bad thing. The costs of the required postgraduate study, the hightened competition for training contracts, increased insecurity of employment, increasing costs of and difficulty in obtaining professional indemnity insurance and an increasing number of firms entering into PVA's or collapsing mean that students should think long and hard before making such a significant investment, both in time and financially, Whilst a legal career can be very rewarding in many ways, it is important to think very carefully before trying to enter it.

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  • lets be honest.... capitalism doesn't care who gets a training contract and who doesn't, many will join the rat race and never complete the race. however, allen and overy's claim of a lack of interest is proposterous and a blatant pr spin...

    firms still go to law fairs pretending that they are hanfing out training contracts just like before but the truth again is that many are kept afloat from government contracts and streamlining their services and restructuring dramatically, there will probably be fewer lawyers in the future but this is the time, its already ridiculous that one can enter the profession with any degree, as if there wasnt a big enough, competent enough pool already.

    like i said many won't pay attention to this and keep going in this rat race, the only glimmer of hope is a desperate grasp that this government can clear our horrendous deficit, which many leading economists say will take between 20-30 years if at all, but as mentioned capitalism will continure to support the survivors. but when the injured outnumber the survivors, things will change and we will see fewer of the higher paid jobs. peace

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