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Herbert Smith Freehills cancels 2020 summer vacation schemes

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Exclusive: Candidates instead being invited to interview for TCs, with those successful offered place on virtual scheme

Herbert Smith Freehills (HSF) has cancelled its 2020 London summer vacation schemes in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, Legal Cheek can reveal.

The international firm was due to run three schemes of two-week periods in the summer. It typically runs two summer schemes at its City headquarters but scheduled an additional scheme to accommodate students affected by the firm’s decision to postpone its spring vacation scheme earlier this year. Incoming spring interns were offered the chance to move across to the additional summer programme, or be interviewed directly for a training contract.

A HSF spokesperson confirmed to this website that all three summer vacation schemes have been cancelled.

“While COVID-19 continues to create uncertainties and challenges and we take steps to navigate its impact, we remain focussed and committed to recruiting the talented lawyers we need for the future success of our business”, the spokesperson said, adding:

“Safeguarding our people, including our vacation scheme students, is our priority. After careful consideration, we have decided to cancel our three summer vacation schemes. Instead, we will invite students to interview for a training contract, and will hold a four-day long virtual vacation scheme for those who are successful.”

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The spokesperson confirmed that the virtual vacation scheme will be offered to those who have successfully secured training contracts. They will be paid (the usual) £450 for their participation in the four-day scheme.

The firm’s decision to hold direct interviews for training contracts before enabling candidates to engage in a virtual vacation scheme appears to be the inverse of measures taken by other City outfits.

A number of law firms have moved their summer vacation schemes online, with some going on the record to state that they intend to use their virtual offering to then assess candidates for training contracts.

But others have confirmed the cancellation of their 2020 summer vacation schemes altogether, and encouraged applications for training contracts. Last week we reported that Deloitte, along with Browne Jacobson, BDB Pitmans and Forsters, had scrapped their student work experience programmes due to take place in the summer in light of the ongoing coronavirus crisis.

View a list of law firm schemes postponed or cancelled 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 tips@legalcheek.com

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