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Top City firms confirm summer vacation schemes will stay online

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Magic circle and US outfits stick to virtual programmes as COVID disruption continues

Leading City law firms Allen & Overy, Clifford Chance, Linklaters, Slaughter and May have confirmed that their summer vacation schemes this year will remain online.

Though the government hopes to lift all social distancing restrictions by 21 June, as detailed in its four-step roadmap out of the lockdown, it’s unclear when exactly lawyers will return to offices. This comes a year after the global spread of coronavirus forced law firms to decide whether to cancel, postpone or move their in-office vacation schemes online.

A Linklaters spokesperson told Legal Cheek that the magic circle firm managed to transfer its 2020 vac schemes into a virtual format with “great success”, while “still enabling participants to benefit from a real insight into the work that we do and the culture of our firm, alongside regular contact and development opportunities within their respective teams”.

Looking ahead to the firm’s two virtual summer vac schemes this year, they said:

“We are fully committed to ensuring that participants derive the same benefits from the scheme as they would when circumstances were different and the schemes were run in the London office.”

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Fellow magic circle member Clifford Chance confirmed that while the bulk of its SPARK scheme, aimed at first year students, will take place online, they will explore providing networking opportunities through optional in-person social events depending on COVID restrictions.

The firm’s interim graduate recruitment manager, Yasmina Kone, said:

“Last year was the first time that firms offered live online work experience placements, and everyone was cautiously optimistic. I think it’s safe to say now that the benefits of virtual schemes are clear: there’s more opportunity to provide a tailor-made experience by giving attendees multiple sessions to choose from at one time; we aren’t limited by space or geographical location in the same way we would be in the office; and actually, we are able to replicate the interactive nature of our sessions incredibly well.”

Elsewhere, Legal Cheek understands that magic circler Freshfields is exploring its options for the summer, although it’s too early to say whether its schemes will take place virtually, while US outfit Skadden confirmed it expects its “near term” vacation programmes to be held online.

Is your vacation scheme going ahead virtually this summer due to COVID-19? Let us know by emailing us at tips@legalcheek.com.

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