In an era of intense competition to get into the top law firms, you need to prove yourself as an all-rounder with a wealth of experience. Recruiters look for students who have practical experience in the real world, not just academic merit alone. Here are a few activities law students should get involved to boost their prospects.
Marshalling: this is a great way to learn about the inner workings of a court. Magistrate courts and Crown courts normally offer marshalling and you should approach them by sending an email to enquire about any availability. The experience allows you to see the court in action and if you are lucky enough to shadow a judge you can ask them questions about how they reach their judgments or what cases are the most memorable?
Open Days and First-year Springboard Scheme: many firms will offer first-year law students a chance to visit their firms. It allows you to learn about the firm, their environment and atmosphere. However, it works both ways, firstly it allows you to see if the firm appeals to you, and the firms can assess whether you are the candidate they want. If you are lucky and impress them enough you may secure a vacation scheme or a training contract. Attending these open days is beneficial when you want to later apply for a job at these firms as it shows them you have already taken the initiative to learn about their firm and is a good talking point in an interview.
Citizen Advice Bureau (CAB): volunteering at the CAB is a great way of learning how to deal with clients. You learn the techniques of interviewing them and extracting the relevant information. You confront the realities of the clients’ hardships and there is a deep sense of satisfaction when you are able to support them. The CAB thrives on the help of volunteers and there is a great sense of giving back to your community.
University Societies: joining your university society is a great way to interact and meet new people. You learn to network by attending various events hosted by the society. In addition, you can apply to be a president, vice president or various other roles to gain experience in taking on projects and show law firms your proven record of being responsible and having leadership qualities.
Local Law Firms: working at local firms are a great starting point for law students, although far from the glitz and glamour of city firms, they have the ability to give you great experience and skills that city firms are looking for. The local firms are normally focused on niche areas of law such as immigration and personal injury but their lawyers spend a lot of time training you. These lawyers have years of expertise and they really nurture you to bring out the best of your skills.
These are some of the many opportunities law students needs to take advantage of. Starting early is always beneficial and gives you more time to develop and hone your skills. So, expand your horizon and look for as many opportunities as you can!
Written By: RABIYA KHAWAJA