Virus pandemic: Baker McKenzie and Herbert Smith Freehills postpone spring vacation schemes

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By Aishah Hussain on

Along with Charles Russell Speechlys and Penningtons Manches Cooper

International law firms Baker McKenzie and Herbert Smith Freehills (HSF) have postponed their spring vacation schemes in light of the virus pandemic, Legal Cheek can reveal.

Bakers’ two-week spring scheme was due to run from 30 March until 9 April 2020 but has been postponed “in light of the rapidly changing landscape in the UK regarding COVID-19”. The 15 final year students and grads have instead been offered a place on its summer vac scheme.

Meanwhile, HSF’s two-week spring vac scheme, due to run from 14 to 24 April 2020, has been postponed until 15 to 26 June 2020 in response to the outbreak. HSF will now run three schemes of two-week periods in the summer. Any incoming spring vac schemer unable to make the revised dates will instead be offered a direct training contract interview, the firm told Legal Cheek, although the offers available through this route will be limited and the threshold will be high.

It added that all other work experience opportunities such as its first-year workshops and introduction to law workshops will also be postponed until the summer.

Vacation schemes are open to students and graduates from across the UK and overseas to experience life at a firm, and often have a number of social activities scheduled for the week(s). On Monday the Prime Minister brought in new social distancing measures, and encouraged the public to avoid “non-essential” contact and work from home where possible to curb the spread of the virus.

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Other law firms have decided to postpone their spring schemes in the wake of the novel virus.

Charles Russell Speechlys (CRS) postponed its spring vacation schemes, due to be held in its London, Cheltenham and Guildford offices in the coming weeks. The firm said it is likely to reschedule the schemes for the summer, depending on the situation then.

Hamish Perry, partner and training principle at CRS, said: “Whilst we appreciate this may be disappointing for candidates, we consider this a necessary step in prioritising their safety and the safety of our staff. This is not a decision that has been taken lightly and it is one of a number of measures we are taking as a firm.”

Elsewhere, Penningtons Manches Cooper confirmed to Legal Cheek it had postponed its week-long Easter vacation scheme (30 March – 3 April) in light of the coronavirus crisis.

View a list of spring schemes postponed due to COVID-19 so far. This page will be updated as we receive new information.

Has your scheme been affected by the coronavirus? Let us know at

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