Freshfields and Taylor Wessing summer vacation schemes will go ahead — online

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By Aishah Hussain on

City law firms continue to switch to virtual programmes amid virus disruption

Freshfields and Taylor Wessing have announced their 2020 summer vacation schemes will go ahead, virtually, in view of the virus pandemic.

Freshfields was due to run two, three-week long summer vacation schemes at its City headquarters. The virtual version will continue to take place during June and July, as originally planned, but will be shorter in length in light of the current crisis, the firm confirmed yesterday. Participants will be remunerated the weekly £450 sum.

Vacation schemes are work placements open to students and graduates from across the UK and overseas to experience life at a law firm. They result in an interview for a training contract at the firm. It is unclear how Freshfields will assess participants for training contracts at this stage.

A Freshfields spokesperson told Legal Cheek the firm remains committed to recruiting trainees amid the continued virus disruption, adding:

“We will also be hosting our UK summer vacation schemes this year, adapting them as necessary. They will be delivered virtually, taking into account the safety and wellbeing of the participants. We remain committed to investing in talent and will not alter the compensation structure that was communicated to those participating in the schemes.”

They continued: “We look forward to providing our vacation scheme participants with an engaging experience at Freshfields, as they learn from our talented and knowledgeable lawyers through their work on complex projects across the breadth of our practices.”

Virtual student event: What COVID-19 means for future lawyers — with Pinsent Masons, Willkie Farr, the SRA and ULaw on Tuesday 12 May

Meanwhile, Taylor Wessing confirmed it will continue to run its summer scheme, albeit online. The virtual vac scheme will be completed over the course of one week instead of the usual two weeks in June and July. Students will be paid as usual for taking part.

A TW spokesperson told this website: “It is important for us to provide as much certainty as we can to our people, and the cohort of students who will be joining us in the UK as part of our insight days and our summer vacation scheme this year.”

In March, the City firm held virtual insight days for over 50 students. It now hopes to build on this experience.

The spokesperson said: “Similar to our insight days, we’ve had to look at ways that balance what can feasibly be delivered remotely, while still delivering the best experience.”

As a result, the firm is working to convert a number of its original vacation scheme exercises into “virtually friendly ones”, along with some new opportunities and skills sessions. “It remains a priority to create a fulfilling, interesting and interactive programme, and that our summer scheme can still go ahead,” the spokesperson added.

TW recruits trainees solely from its vacation schemes. Legal Cheek understands the firm will use the new platform to assess candidates’ performance in order to make training contract decisions.

Today’s news comes as Clifford Chance and Pinsent Masons put in place similar measures to move their summer vacation schemes online.

Virtual student event: What COVID-19 means for future lawyers — with Pinsent Masons, Willkie Farr, the SRA and ULaw on Tuesday 12 May

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