Everyone has disappeared for summer – but, with mobiles and email around, it’s getting harder to switch off completely.

It is that time of the year again. You go through your post tray, and filing cabinet. You write emails, even a few letters, and prepare copious notes on your cases (which no one of course will ever read). The plan is to clear your desk and make sure that every hearing is covered and nothing untoward will happen in your absence.

David Pickup

It is holiday season again. It used to be that we wrote letters on all files and then returned two weeks later to a tray full of replies saying the fee-earner is on holiday as well and the letter will be dealt with on return. Now we have email and mobile devices, which mean that the communications continue and you can read these aloud to your attentive family on the beach.

I wonder where everyone has gone? Particularly students. Most years we have them all summer but the numbers have noticeably reduced this year. We still get school pupils who are thinking of the legal profession as a career (no, really) but very few university students. Have they been culled? Has the message got through that the law is not a road to a fortune?

What is genuinely pleasing, though, is that the students who came a year or two ago keep in touch. They want me to join them on LinkedIn so I can follow their career, or sadly, lack of it. Some write to thank me and say they got a 2:1 or a first but not a job.

What do I advise? I do not really know what to say apart from gain skills that are transferable. We have seen candidates who had jobs in shops while waiting for a training contract and they did gain valuable skills, such as how to deal with people. Perhaps they are all earning money and saving for holidays. And probably making more money than most of us.

David Pickup is a partner at Aylesbury-based Pickup & Scott