Chances are you are reading this because you are considering a career in law, you are study law, or not studying law but going to study law, or you have graduated and job seeking or you have been working in a different sector and are considering a career as a lawyer, generally you are most likely trying to get some direction.
Here are some key tips:
Have good Grades
GCSE’s, A- Levels and university grades(if you have them at the time you apply) will be key to scoring you your training contract. Prior to meeting and interviewing you, it is one of the ways law firms decide whether they want you or not so it is worthwhile knuckling down and gaining good grades
Gain all experience, volunteer in your community, write for an online magazine, pursue other meaningful interests of yours as these all contribute to making you a much more interesting candidate for a law firm. Many people will have good grades, with lots of law work experience, set yourself apart by showing that there is more to you than simply being another clever law student.
Really throw yourself into university life, top notch grades are important but so also is your network. University provides an amazing chance to tap into a really great network easily, join the football team, or the debate club or the wine tasting group. Try and also hold a position, it need not be anything serious, you can be the social secretary if you enjoy arranging events and bringing people together. This tells the law firm that your an interesting individual, who is organised and able to get along with other people.
Speak to people
Speak to individuals who are already lawyers, find out what there experiences are. Ask them what they like and dislike about their jobs, if you know them well enough, find out if you can shadow them for a day, even if they are able to authorise such they may be able to speak to a senior about it or connect you to someone else who may be able to give you more insight into a firm.
Be business minded
This is at times called being commercially aware, it simply means that you need to recognise that the firm although it services businesses and helps them with the legal and commercial affairs, is a business in its self. It needs to make money, and one of your jobs as a lawyer is to help it do just that. To do so requires creatively providing solutions to clients and doing a job so outstanding they keep the firm on retainer-ship or reuse the firm in future. You will also need to be aware of how law firms interact with other financial institutions, e.g. when a tech company needs a loan from a bank, the bank is likely to have a law firm that it uses for such deals, who creates or scrutinises it’s contract. Similarly, the tech company will also have lawyers negotiating on it’s behalf with the bank’s lawyers. The firms on both sides have the responsibility negotiating the best deal for their clients, ensuring the deal in compliant with existing laws and making sure they earn the firm some money.
Read newspapers, read articles and be purposeful in the way you do so. Choose areas you are interested in so that you are not simply reading for the sake of reading, enjoy it as if you do become a lawyer you will need to be current and able to speak intelligent on current affairs. Start early!
Have a plan
It is worth considering what type of firm and what area of law you are interested in; you need not be an expert but it helps to be informed. That way in interviews you can show that your interest in the firm is far more than its name, your interests align with its areas of expertise.
The summer before the autumn wave of applications create a table with all the Law firms you are interested in, note what they specialise in, keep up to date with their news, consider why you want to work with them and why they might want you.
A table like this may be helpful:
NB: (the firm information is fictional)
|Firm||Niche||In the news||Benefits||Why is it for me||Aside my grade & legal potential why might they want me?|
|Chifford Clarence||M & A, Technology, Corporate||$3billion Silicon Valley merger||Great maternity package||Presence in Middle East, I hope to move back to Bahrain later.||I speak Arabic, French & English|
Then as you prepare, find a way to remain organised. You may find the table below help:
NB: (the firm information is fictional)
|Chifford Clarence||Laura White||Done -8th||22nd November||Successful|
|Cooker & Marcus||None||Done||11th December||Awaiting|
|Whyte & Norman
|Rare||To Do- by 24th November||12th December||Successful|
|Chifford Clarence Training Contract Application||Marcus Wright||To Do – by 16th December||4th January||Successful|