5 things to avoid doing on your summer vac scheme

Avatar photo

By Legal Cheek on


Sidestep these blunders!

Vac scheme season is almost upon us. It probably feels like a long time coming for those who’ve been sitting tight since receiving their offers, but you might now be feeling the nerves as the start day approaches.

With many of Legal Cheek’s team having done vacation schemes and witnessed (or made!) some easy mistakes, we’ve compiled a handy guide of what not to do in your upcoming vac scheme.

1. Competing with and comparing yourself to your fellow vac schemers

Let’s begin with this so you start your vac scheme on the right note – don’t try to compete with the other vac scheme participants. Everyone on the scheme will be at a different stage in their career and life — some might be straight out of university, some might still be at university, some might be career changers, law/non-law, the list goes on. Remind yourself that everyone’s circumstances and priorities are different, and it is futile to try and dissect who you think is likely to be made a training contract offer.

Also try to resist the urge to compare yourself to what other vac schemers are doing. Those placed in busier teams might have more on their plate, while others might be allocated to teams having a lighter workload with perhaps more lawyers WFH. What matters is being proactive by communicating with your supervisor and letting them know if you find yourself unoccupied. Another thing — don’t feel pressured to stay late because others on the vac scheme are doing so. Everyone works at a different pace and it might be that those staying late had a significant chunk of their day eaten up by attending a client call, for example.

APPLY NOW for next week’s Legal Cheek Summer Virtual Vacation Scheme and Law Fair 2024, run in partnership with The University of Law

2. Constantly bring up all the other vac schemes you’ve got under your belt

This goes for interactions with both other vac schemers and members of the firm. Discussing other vac schemes you’ve completed might come off as complacent and give the impression that the firm you are currently at is not a priority to you.

It’s likely that this topic will come up in conversation, or you might be asked at an exit interview about how this vacation scheme compared with other ones you have done. Have a think about this in advance and in answering it, don’t criticise the other firms you’ve spent time at in order to demonstrate your interest in the firm you are currently at. Your interest in the firm should be backed up independently of other vac schemes and not only because you enjoyed your time more than at another firm.

3. All work and no play

Vac schemes are certainly about getting a taste of the firm’s work, but they are also about getting to know the people at the firm and your fellow vac schemers. If there’s a particular practice area you want to learn more about, email a trainee or associate in that department, asking to go for a coffee. Showing your work ethic and interest in the firm isn’t just about having your head down at a desk, but also about showing you can connect with people by taking initiative.

APPLY NOW for next week’s Legal Cheek Summer Virtual Vacation Scheme and Law Fair 2024, run in partnership with The University of Law

As for managing your work, perhaps the most important thing is to not overcommit. It’s easy to get carried away and say yes to every task, but you also need to be realistic about how much you have on your plate and whether you can actually get something done. It’s worse to have someone rely on you and then not follow through, than clearly communicate your capacity at the outset.

4. Being late to things

This might be fairly obvious, but it’s an important thing to always be aware of. Vacation schemes tend to be fairly packed with lots of things going on – talks, workshops, networking events and of course, actual work and any assessed tasks. Take a few minutes each morning to remind yourself of anything you have on that day, where it’s happening and ensure you arrive on time. Each activity is carefully planned and coordinated so it’s good practice to be respectful of that by being punctual.

5. Being rude or abrupt with people

Be nice to everyone, whether they are lawyers, paralegals, business professionals or support staff. Don’t fall into the trap of being polite only with lawyers and graduate recruitment and abrupt with others, as everyone works closely together.

The firm is hiring you as a person, and they want to make sure you are enjoyable to work with even under pressure. Keep respect at the forefront of every interaction, but don’t be overly cautious about letting your personality shine through.

The Legal Cheek Summer Virtual Vacation Scheme and Law Fair 2024, run in partnership with The University of Law (ULaw), takes place NEXT WEEK, from Monday 10 June until Friday 14 June (with the Virtual Law Fair taking place 2-4pm on Wednesday 12 June). APPLY NOW.


Kirkland NQ

6. Don’t forget to bring in a Lambo brochure with you. Sit casually thumbing through it during lunch and other lulls in the day. Interrupt conversations to loudly take a call from your Lambo dealer, making clear who is on the phone. Total power play will unsettle other candidates and massively impress partners – they know you’re here to stay.


This is actually hilarious.

Di Versity

Lambos are very new money. More Chelsea Eurotrash signings than City Law.

Antonio de Trashio

Chelsea first team players making twice the K&E NQ salary every week are probably not too bothered by this.

On a serious note, who really thinks City solicitors are a shorthand for tasteful sophistication??

Join the conversation

Related Stories

What to expect on a vacation scheme

Legal Cheek explains...

Mar 6 2024 7:41am

How to nail a summer vac scheme

Three future trainees give their top tips

Jun 1 2022 9:14am