This pages provides help and links for finding summer vacation schemes, mini-pupillages, other legal work experience and graduate internships.

Work Experience for KLS Students

To ensure that opportunities offered exclusively to KLS students are only made available to KLS students the identity of work experience providers and the related Job Descriptions will be posted to DP237025 on Moodle when they are available.

The following opportunities are usually available on an annual basis:
  • Work experience with Solicitors:  –  opportunities vary every year but usually include High Street, National, Regional, Local Authorities and, occasionally, the CPS mainly in Kent and London.  Advertised in the spring term.
  • Vacation Scheme with a Scrivener Notary firm – advertised March-April
  • Mini-pupillages – There are a number of MP’s available in a range of legal areas including PI, family, children, financial, fraud & other crime.   Advertised from December – January
  • Marshalling –   10 x 2-day opportunities at Canterbury Courts and 3 x 1 day opportunities in a court north of London.  Advertised Dec-Jan.

How to find out more:  Go to the KLS Employability and Career Development Moodle (DP237025) page for full information.

Funding work experience


If you have secured some unpaid work experience you could be entitled to up to £250 from the Careers and Employability Service to help with expenses.  To be eligible you must be a student registered with the University of Kent, studying in the UK; your work experience must be taking place within the UK; the total duration of your work experience must be no longer than 3 weeks (120 hours); you must be returning to university for at least a term after completing your work experience.

The bursary will primarily contribute towards out-of-pocket travel expenses. However, in exceptional circumstances, contributions towards accommodation, food costs, work clothing or childcare will be considered. Full terms and conditions are available on the website

2. Unpaid Internships/Work Experience

The University (in line with the NUS) does not support unpaid internships/work experience of more than 3-4 weeks.  This is so that we do not endorse exploitation.   Find out about your rights from the Government –   The following are interesting and informative articles which will help you to identify whether your internship should be paid:

3. Human Rights Lawyer Association Bursary Scheme: 

The HRLA can support you to take up internships, work placements and other either unpaid or poorly paid work in human rights law. The HRLA bursary scheme assist law students (at any stage of study) or those who have recently graduated, in undertaking such work.   The provide at least one grant of £3,500 and a number of small awards up to £1,500.   The bursary money is to be used to enable the successful applicants to undertake work related to human rights law that he or she would otherwise be unable to afford to do. That work need not take place in the United Kingdom, but it must be relevant to human rights law in the United Kingdom.

How to find work experience: vacation schemes; mini-pupillages; marshalling; internships 

The following all offer tips on self-analysis, research, law fairs and where to seek help:

1. Vacation Schemes

A Vacation Scheme (VS) is a very structured and formal experience offered by law firms who recruit trainee solicitors.  You must always remember that a VS targeted at university students is part of the firm’s recruitment process and not part of their Corporate Social Responsibility agenda (unlike schemes targeted at school aged students).  What does this mean for you?  It means that when you apply for a VS you are effectively saying that you are potentially interested in this firm as your future employer and thus, your application needs to be specifically targeted to the firm with good research and clear motivation about why the firm is of interest to you.    A VS typically lasts 1-2 weeks but can be as much as 4.  Most are paid.

Other useful links

2. Mini-Pupillages

A mini-pupillage (MPs) is a short period of time shadowing a barrister.   It is normal for an MP to be between 2-5 days and unpaid (be prepared to spend money on trains to get to court).   An MP may be offered formally by a set of Chambers – in this instance, you will apply directly to the Chambers and, if you are selected, you may spend time during your MP in both Chambers and court with one or more barristers who have been selected/volunteered.   However, many people organise MPs directly with a barrister of their choosing.  In this instance, you research who you want to spend time with (maybe someone you have met; someone working in the Chambers or area of law that is of interest to you; someone you have a connection – you know them/a family member knows them/you went to the same school/grew up in the same village etc.) and organise it directly.

Assessed Mini-Pupillages:  It’s worth mentioning these.   An assessed MP is a structured and formal MP which a set of Chambers may offer as part of their recruitment process i.e. they are looking for their future pupils.   During such an MP you are likely to be tasked with a research and drafting exercise which you are expected to present to a panel.   There are not many of these MPs so don’t worry if you don’t find any.

Other Legal Work Experience

…there are lots more to come so keep using this page as it will grow over the coming year!

Informal Work Experience

Firms and legal departments who don’t offer formal vacation schemes are often very willing to offer informal work experience.   Experiences vary considerably from observation to easy administrative tasks to undertaking the type of work that a paralegal or trainee would do.

Tips for finding informal work experience:

  • It is unlikely to be advertised.  However, you should always check the firm’s website before you contact them because some of them will give very clear instructions about whether they take people on w.exp and if they do how you apply.  There might be an on-line form or an application window.  If you don’t follow the prescribed method to apply you will prove to them that you are not well researched and /or you cannot follow instructions.
  • Be strategic in selecting firms to apply to.
    • do not apply to firms offering VS’ unless their website says that they also accept work experience applications – this is very unlikely in large firms.
    • any work experience is useful – do not be too focused on it being the ‘right type of firm’ or ‘the right area of law’ because you will always learn something.  And, you will be able to confirm that this is/is not the right type of firm/area of law and thus, enabling you to truthfully and convincing state, in future applications/interviews, that you know which type of firm/law IS right because you have had this experience.
    • have a reason to select the firms you apply too.   I find that geographical location is probably the most relevant.  As such exp. is likely to take place during the summer it makes sense to apply to firms in the location where you are spending your summer.   This is usually your home town and firms like to support their ‘local’ students.  International students, if you are applying to UK based firms try and find a connection to mention but, also do not dismiss work experience in your home country – recruiters will still value it.
    • the second most useful link to make is area of law especially if you are looking outside of the commercial arena.  So, if you desperately want to be a family, criminal, welfare lawyer (or other) then target firms with such a practice and explain why.
  • Apply by sending a qualify CV and letter (email is fine!).   Follow it up with a phone call a week later if you hear nothing.

A word about internships

Legal work experience in England & Wales is not often referred to as an ‘internship’ although this is common across the rest of the world or for  opportunities for those who have already graduated (see separate page of infor).   As you will see from the above formalised opportunities tend to be called Vacation Schemes and limited to 1-4 weeks or, at the Bar, mini-pupillages typically of 2-5 days.  Outside of this informal work experience in law firms or legal departments is a great way to build experience but we recommend that you restrict unpaid w.exp to 3 weeks so as to avoid exploitation.   I often see students who have work for the entire summer in a law firm/legal department who started by doing work experience and this was then converted into paid work.  In this instance, you could call it an internship on your CV but the employer probably won’t use this terminology.


On the other hand, there is a growing number of virtual internships.  See the separate page on this topic.

Support for students with disabilities

1. Solicitors work experience for students with disabilities

The Lawyers with Disabilities Division of the Law Society works with employers in the legal sector to offer work experience opportunities to their members. A number of employers are take part in the scheme including law firms in private practice, and in-house departments from the public and private sectors.

The work experience scheme can offer you:

  • Work experience for 1-2 weeks
  • Part/full time positions available.
  • Discussion of reasonable adjustments, if required. For example, flexible working time.
  • Possible paid reasonable travelling expenses. (some firms have indicated that they are able to offer this).

You will need to be a member of LDD, which is free to join as long as you meet the membership criteria.

See here for full information.

How to apply  – the application window is usually February –  March each year.  You will need to apply by letter and CV. 

2. EmployAbility: Opportunities for disabled & dyslexic students & graduates

Summer internship opportunities available to apply to now with; Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, Bank of America, Shell, Google and the FCA, as well as Graduate programmes with Shell, Google & the FCA.

All opportunities can be accessed at:



see separate page