The Cardiff office hosted a social distanced get together with the Trainees, HR and Trainee Regional Partner on Wednesday 25 November and whilst enjoying lunch together, we had a chat about advice you would give to someone considering a career in law, or something you wish someone had told you before embarking on your legal career.
Some of our top tips are below and we really hope that they will be useful if you are in the process of making this important decision.
Work experience is always beneficial to someone considering their career choices and law is of course no different, so trying to get access to some work experience in a variety of different settings is invaluable. Consider the types of firms you might wish to apply to, but also try and secure placements at different types of firms such as regional v high street, full service v niche to give you a feel for the ways in which different firms operate.
Work experience can be difficult to come by in ordinary circumstances, but particularly when many schemes are operating on a virtual platform or have been cancelled entirely. Keep an eye out for different opportunities and make the most of any virtual events, as not needing to travel extensively will open up a far wider range of possibilities to you.
Do not pigeon yourself too soon
It is common for aspiring lawyers to give a lot of thought to the area of law they might wish to qualify into, and this can have an impact on the type of firm you to apply to. Our Trainees advise however that you shouldn’t pigeon hole yourself too soon and keep an open mind about your potential specialism. This will have an impact both on the firms you apply to, but also when being allocated seats during your training contract.
One Trainee stated that a seat which she had expected to dislike had turned out to be a favourite and would be an area that she may now consider qualifying into if there are opportunities to do so. Working within a specific seat can also be very different to your experience of studying that area of law at University, so this is also worth bearing in mind.
Getting involved in different extracurricular activities whilst at university is very common, and many law students will naturally gravitate towards law specific activities such as mooting and debating as these will allow you to develop key skills early in your legal career. Pro bono clinics can also give you some really valuable skills as you will be dealing with clients from the outset, allowing you to develop your communication skills and gain real life experience.
You may also find law societies more tailored to certain areas of law that may be of interest to you, so attending events with these societies will help you to learn more about these. Don’t be reluctant to get involved in extracurricular activities that are not related to law as it is important to do things that you enjoy in your spare time! This will also shine through in your applications and interviews as you can speak about these interests with genuine passion and allow your personality to shine through. Part time work can also be a very valuable source of transferable skills, which are vital for making a successful application.
Most importantly, be yourself and be authentic. The recruitment process is just as much an opportunity for you to find out if we are the right firm for you as it is for us to decide on whether we think you’re the right person for us. Take advantage of opportunities to find out about the firms you are considering, their culture and the training environment you will be working within. This will help you to make an informed decision and set you on the best path towards a successful legal career.