In her second blog, Amelia Mah, future trainee solicitor and final year dual-qualifying law student at the University of Dundee, discusses work experience.
The legal sector is notoriously competitive and you’ll see this more so in the third and fourth year of the LLB when applying for vacation schemes and training contracts. So, it’s a question of how you can get ahead and stand out from the crowd.
Well, one of the ways you could do this is by gaining as much work experience as possible. Ideally, this would be legal work experience however, any work experience is good work experience. Focus on the transferable skills that you’re gaining, whether that be customer service, team work, organisation or time management.
The formal summer work placement schemes are called ‘vacation schemes’ and these tend to be for third year LLB students and above and I will go into further detail in my next two blogs. Some of the larger commercial firms are now offering placements for second year students but these are not yet the norm. For those in first and second year looking to break into the legal sector, your best bet is to send round speculative applications to smaller, local firms. You could email around asking for informal work shadowing for a week or so. It’s also worth looking for non-legal work in law firms - many firms look for part-time mailroom assistants or receptionists. These posts are good for gaining an insight into how the legal sector works.
Don’t be disheartened if you have not been able to get a lot of legal work experience, like I’ve already said, it’s more important to focus on the skills you learn from your work. Any experience is good experience.
The key thing to remember is how competitive the legal sector is and how you can make yourself stand out. The earlier you start building your CV, the better. Next time I will focus on vacation schemes, training contract applications and my hot tips for standing out.
If you have any questions, please feel free to connect with me on LinkedIn and send me a message.