Slaughter and May offer 100 vacation placements each year. Slaughter and May is possibly the only law firm prepared to admit that Vacation Schemes are of limited value, both to students (who won't really be able to work on anything important) and to the recruitment team (who will be too busy with their own work to oversee most of the tasks Vacation Placement students complete).
One candidate was told in a recent interview with a partner at Slaughter and May that vacation schemes are almost entirely for the student's benefit, so that they can see what life in the firm is like and whether or not the Law is the profession for them.
Spending time on a vacation placement will certainly not be detrimental to your CV and many firms will find this experience proof that you are committed to a life working as a solicitor. What Vacation Schemes do is demonstrate that you've made an effort to find out about a legal career by taking the time to apply to several companies, interview and eventually spend holiday time wearing your suit and tie in an office. This demonstrates commitment to career.
Some firms tend to regard the presence of a vacation scheme on a CV as part of the filtering process. For example, if a candidate has been offered a vacation scheme at Herbert Smith, then he/she has effectively been given the "thumbs-up" from another major city law firm. This adds value to the candidate, and consequently other firms may be more interested in interviewing them.
Although every potential lawyer will know someone (or know of someone) who has either interviewed for a training contract or been offered a training contract without a hint of a vacation placement on their CV, this is the exception rather than the rule. Some students, such as non-law graduates, may be able to explain why they have not applied or partaken in a vacation placement and in this case, the lack of a vacation placement may be less important, particularly if you have experience working in a commercial environment or for a large non-law company. A first class law student has less excuse for failing to secure a placement, especially as many Universities offer excellent help and advice to their law students.
Easter Work Experience Scheme: Open to Penultimate year students, the selection process for this scheme is based solely on your written application. Students are compensated £300 per week.
Summer Work Experience Scheme: A 2 week long internship in London aimed at penultimate year students. Interviews take place beginning in late January, and students are compensated £300 per week.
Open Days: Slaughter and May offers a 1-day open day over Easter, and a 2-day workshop over the Christmas period to give students a glimpse at company life. Reasonable expenses will be reimbursed.
Attending an open day at Slaughter and May can be a very useful way of demonstrating a commitment to the firm. It may also help you to create or develop contacts with key recruitment staff at Slaughter and May, as well as other potential future trainees. It can bey can be a great way to secure an interview for either a Vacation Placement or Training Contract, giving you a greater chance of getting a job.
Note: For all positions, you online application should include a full percentage breakdown of all examination results.