Daniel Foley is currently completing the GDL, having recently graduated from the University of Exeter with a degree in English with Study in North America. He completed vacation schemes with Taylor Wessing, Nabarro and White & Case in 2015, and will begin his training contract with Taylor Wessing in September 2017. He has kindly taken time out of his busy schedule to offer a few wise words on how to approach university life.
"It is important to ensure that you are making an informed decision when choosing where to train, and the only way of doing this is to research the market thoroughly. Part of finding the right firm is about personal fit, so when choosing where to train you will need to assess your own motivations and interests, rather than simply applying to the same firms as your classmates and friends.
When selecting a firm to apply to, try to be flexible on what practice areas you are interested in, unless you are certain that there is a particular area you are drawn to. It is also important to consider what else you are looking for in a firm (whether it is international, full-service, particular sectors etc.). Once you have put together a shortlist of firms that you are interested in, try to attend one of each firm's open days. These are an ideal opportunity to see the firm in practice, to meet people from the firm to understand first-hand what they enjoy about the firm, and to assess the firm's culture."
As good bargains go, vacation schemes stand out as amazing 3-for-1 deals: for just a few weeks of your time, you get to improve your resume, brush up your legal skills and, best of all, you can see first-hand what life's truly like at your favourite law firm before committing to the full training contract experience.
Because we know a number of you are set on giving vacation schemes a try, we've put together a collection of relevant application deadlines to help you along. Many thanks to Taylor Wessing for sponsoring the following information table:
"From a student's perspective, open days and networking events provide an opportunity to speak to a range of people from the firm: trainees, associates, HR professionals and partners. You will be able to ask more questions than you would have time for in an interview, and also be able to chat in a more informal atmosphere, which should give you a genuine feel for the atmosphere at the firm. You are also likely to learn more about the firm from the presentations given on the day.
From the firm's perspective, open days and networking events provide a very good forum for the firm to give students a real idea of what life there is like. In addition, such events allow firms to carry out some initial scouting for talent, and also to assess how well the firm's brand is coming through on campus at a range of universities.
While an open day or networking event may be less formal than an interview, you should still prepare well for the day by ensuring you have a good understanding of the firm, and that you have some intelligent questions to ask. You will be making a first impression with the firm, so you should try to make it a good one!"
You've done your homework, studied the stats, read up on practice areas, and compared the firms that've caught your eye – now, it's time to put your best foot and application forward.
There's no delaying the inevitable, and, as graduate recruiters were keen to tell us when we collected our list of relevant tips, procrastination rarely improves an application. So, take the time to browse over these deadlines, make a schedule and pace yourself accordingly – you'll do great.
Our thanks to Norton Rose Fulbright for sponsoring this table.
Because we know a number of you are set on giving vacation schemes a try, we've put together a collection of application deadlines to help you along. Many thanks to Taylor Wessing for sponsoring the Vacation Scheme Deadlines table.
Below is a fully interactive table, which shows the pay for those firms who have an extended profile with The Lex 100. If you'd like to compare firm's survey results go to our brand new Law Firm Comparison table or click through to our Firms section for a more detailed analysis of each firm.
"The training contract or vacation scheme application form is often the first contact that you will have with a firm and, as always, first impressions count. Needless to say obvious errors such as spelling mistakes or poor grammar detract from your application, but some other common errors that we come across are:
Any of these errors will suggest that you are just filling in a form and are not particularly keen to join the firm that you are applying to. I know it is time consuming to fill in application forms, but it is worth putting the time and effort in as it is easy to spot when applicants have not!"
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