With a new academic year comes a fresh batch of law fairs. Our Careers and Outreach Coordinator Georgia Turnbull offers her top tips on how to get the most out of them.
As the new academic year begins, so too does a range of opportunities that are available to you. It is never too early to think about the future stages of your legal career and a law fair is a fantastic way to explore the opportunities ahead.
Your university may well run a law fair or legal careers event and attending allows you to network with trainees and solicitors who have been through the recruitment process and come out the other side.
We explore below how to get the best out of a law fair, along with some useful tips to bring to your university’s event.
- Do your research: A student who has researched a range of different areas before a law fair will stand out to employers and law firms at the event. Researching areas such as what a firm specialises in, the speakers presenting at the fair and where you see your career going, will allow you to get the best information out of what is on offer. A law fair should be a tool to further your own understanding of the legal profession and doing some research beforehand aids this.
- Do ask insightful questions: Asking the right questions is linked heavily with doing your research before the event. Asking a law firm a question that you can easily find on the first page of its website can be a red flag for employers. Law firms appreciate getting asked perceptive questions that show you have come prepared. It highlights that you are genuinely interested in what the firm does and allows you to delve deeper into its field of law with the its representative. You can search and find useful information about Scottish law firms through our Find a Solicitor tool.
- Do be open minded: It’s a simple one, but many students attend law fairs with a set idea that they definitely don’t want to work in a particular area of law or even that they don’t want to practise law at all. So try to shake off your preconceptions and come with an open mind! This is a good chance to make more informed decisions about your future. A student who comes with an open mind can often walk away with a more rounded understanding of the industry, simply because they have spoken to a wide range of people. On the other hand, many solicitors have reflected on their career journey and ended up in an area of law that they never expected to be in. In other words, speak to lots of people about their firm, their roles and their career journey and discover something new!
- Do turn your camera on (if you can): Law fairs look slightly different in 2021 to how they have traditionally been held. Online facilitation of law fairs can give you a fantastic opportunity to network and make new connections. Ensuring you have your camera turned on will allow the people you interact with at the law fair to know and recognise your face. This can be very important in applying for summer schemes and traineeship places, as law firms remember your face and the enthusiasm you showed at the event.
- Don’t hope someone else will ask your question: Having the opportunity to ask questions is one of the most valuable parts of a law fair. Some people will ask a lot of questions, whilst others may want to listen to their answers. However, if you have a specific question you want to ask, don’t sit there in silence and hope someone else will ask it. Be confident, employers are keen to assist you to gain as much information about their firm as possible.
- Don’t forget to make a good first impression: This could be the one opportunity you have to meet an employer, before you make an application, or perhaps meet them again in an interview. The law fair is a more informal setting, but it’s a great chance to create a good rapport, show enthusiasm and build connections – before the application process really begins. Again, this is linked to your preparation before the event. The best questions come from those who have a good understanding of the law firm and what it does. Lots of firms have videos or will do presentations at a law fair. A great way to make a good first impression is to show you have listened and engaged with their presentations and can demonstrate genuine interest in working there.
- Don’t make assumptions: Law fairs are for all students at any stage of their education, so do not automatically assume you are too early or late in your education to attend. For first years, you may want to come along and see what is on offer to you. Whereas Diploma and fourth-year students considering their traineeship may want to think about the informed questions we mentioned earlier. Assuming it is a waste of your time is the wrong approach – come along and give it a go!
- Don’t miss out: Organisation at the start of the academic year is key to getting off on the right foot. Take a note of when the key university career events are and put the dates in your diary or set a reminder on your phone. Law fairs will be virtual this academic term, so having a clear view of when they are running will allow you to get your questions together and do the all-important preparation. Check out the full list of uni law fairs below.
These helpful tips will allow you to get the most out of the law fairs that are running over the coming weeks and months. Coming with your enthusiasm, research and informed questions will put you in good stead to get as much out of the information available as possible.
Also, we attend the law fairs every year to offer support to students, signpost opportunities and generally have a chat about your career and education. If you're looking for career tips beforehand, please check out the careers pages of our website. And if you're looking for job opportunities, check out those listed on LawscotJobs.
The upcoming university law fairs are all listed below - we look forward to meeting lots of you (virtually) soon!
|University||Law fair date|
|Aberdeen University||Monday, 4 October|
|Dundee University||Wednesday, 6 October|
|Edinburgh University||Wednesday, 29 September|
|Glasgow University||Wednesday, 29 September|
|Napier University||Thursday, 7 October|
|Robert Gordon University||Thursday, 7 October|
|Strathclyde University||Wednesday, 22 September|
Students at Abertay University, Glasgow Caledonian University and the University of Stirling are encouraged to attend other law fairs. Speak to your careers adviser to find out more.
And everyone is welcome to come along to the Law Society of Scotland’s law fair on Friday, 8 October. Find out more information and sign up now!