Magic circle firms bring forward vac scheme application deadlines in battle to bag best students

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By Alex Aldridge on

Allen & Overy deadline was midnight on New Year’s Eve — leapfrogging rivals, whose deadlines fall in next few days


While the rest of Britain spent last night partying, wannabe magic circle lawyers were battling with Allen & Overy‘s vacation scheme application form — its deadline for submission set, slightly absurdly, at midnight on New Year’s Eve.

Still, at least the students who fought through A&O’s form won’t be burdened by a hangover as they turn their attention to the other magic circle firms’ vac scheme application forms.

Next up is Linklaters, whose deadline is Sunday 4 January, followed by Clifford Chance and Slaughter and May on Monday 5, and Freshfields on Tuesday 6.

A&O brought forward its deadline from 14 January last year, with Slaughters and Clifford Chance also nudging their cut-off dates a few days earlier. Last year Slaughters’ deadline was 10 January and CC’s 6 January.

A City law firm graduate recruiter told Legal Cheek that the jostling for position was being driven by a fear of missing out on a pool of elite candidates who receive offers from several leading firms.

“Students are more likely to accept the first offer of a vac scheme place they receive, so firms are trying to put themselves in a position to be able to send out offers before their competitors,” she said.

After the 6 January Freshfields vac scheme deadline, there is a lull until the week starting Monday 12 January, when another bunch of leading firms, many of them with US connections, set their deadlines. But the majority of top City firms still adhere to the traditional 31 January vac scheme application deadline.

For all the vac scheme application deadlines of the top 60 law firms, check out the Legal Cheek firm profiles accessible through the Most List.