The 15 best law firms for vac schemes — according to those who have been there

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By Alex Aldridge on

Pinsent Masons leads the field, with only two magic circle players making the cut


Global law firm Pinsent Masons leads a group of 15 City law firms in a list of the 100 best businesses in the UK for students to have a work placement.

The firm — which has 20 worldwide offices outside its London headquarters — came top of a league table compiled by website RateMyPlacement. Pinsent was pipped to the top of the whole pile by global banking giant Bank of America Merrill Lynch.

According to the site, the rankings were “based upon thousands of insightful student-written reviews”.

Pinsent Masons was listed as offering 100 vac scheme placements in its London and Middle East offices, which offer up to £300 per week to the students on tea-making and photocopying jankers.

The next highest law firm on the list was Nabarro, which came 14th overall, one place above German cheap-as-chips supermarket Lidl.

Nabarro did not provide details of its vac scheme numbers, but following it was Taylor Wessing (17th place on the overall list), which offers 80 placements in London and the Netherlands and pays around £275 a month.

Creeping into the bottom slot of the top-20 overall was the first magic circle firm to make the list — Linklaters, which also declined to provide vac scheme details.

Immediately behind was the London office of Baker & McKenzie with its 40 vac scheme places, which come with weekly wedge of about £320.

Rounding out the rest of the law firm places in the top-100 list were Hogan Lovells in 23rd position, RPC (29), CMS (40), Herbert Smith Freehills (43), Shoosmiths (53), Simmons & Simmons (66), the only other magic circle firm on the list, Allen & Overy (68), Walker Morris (77), Stephenson Harwood (84) and Mayer Brown (97).

It stands to reason that law firms have done reasonably well in the league table. Only about six weeks ago, Legal Cheek highlighted how many firms seem to treat vac schemes as though they were some form of holiday camp.

For example, vac schemers at magic circle giant Clifford Chance enjoyed a day clambering to the top of London’s Millennium Dome, those at Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer engaged in a spot of leisurely community centre gardening, while the lucky blighters at Anglo-US firm DLA Piper played ice hockey.

Commenting on his firm’s high ranking, Pinsent Masons managing partner, John Cleland, told Legal Cheek:

We are extremely proud to have been rated as one of the leading UK employers by undergraduates who have come and worked on placement for us. We expend a lot of energy and effort on our placement schemes because we want to give undergrads great work experience, something of real value to their CV and, of course, we want them to be interested in working for us when they graduate.

The best City law firm vac schemes:


The top 100 in full can be found here.