According to Dean Paul Schiff Berman of the George Washington University Law School in the United States, he says that law jobs ‘exist where students don’t look’.
Though this statement applies to graduates in the US, the same statement could also serve students within the UK. Though you can often find legal advice for employees at the Citizen’s Advice Bureau, so you know what position you are in when you start out, there is relatively little advice or help for specialised employment fields such as law.
With that in mind, here are five important tips for prospective law students who are about to start university:
University isn’t all about study
Quite often you will be able to seek out courses that contain semesters where you will be required to work as an intern within a law company. Although some students are not overly keen with the prospect, these offers should be considered as golden opportunities to get your toes in the field.
More often than not, law firms will remember students upon graduation, and if they make the grade, they may even be offered work, which at the end of the day, is the whole point of going to university.
Don’t spend your summers in front of the television
Working a semester in a law firm is a solid approach to gaining experience, if you can find part-time work, or even the opportunity to shadow a lawyer, barrister or solicitor, this should be seen as a brilliant way of gaining first-hand knowledge in those fields.
It is perhaps true that the majority of the positions may not be paid, but we are no longer in a world where graduates will get jobs simply because they have degrees; experience is becoming more and more integral for people leaving university.
Here is a great resource for finding internships online.
Nothing looks better on a CV than voluntary work, and besides doing it at a law firm, there is no better place to find voluntary positions than within a university.
With so many student advice groups often found within the campus, there’s nothing wrong with taking just a few hours out of the day to help not only your fellow students, but also your future prospects.
If you can, also see what charity work is available through the university.
If you can choose your modules, try something a little different
Although law should always be the cornerstone of your university degree, try and take modules that will help you learn from a different perspective.
History, English literature and sociology modules are often very popular for those hoping to go into law after leaving university. As law is intense, writing skills are very important, so the opportunity to hone your skills in other modules will make great practice and add yet another layer to your CV.
Sometimes it can take months or years to get even a small role in a firm, and if this happens, it is important to stick to your original goals and never give up the hope of a career in law.
Continuing work experience and keeping up with all the latest news is a key to proving your worth in one of the most intense fields in the world. Though you may have to take other part-time positions, keeping your eye on the goal is imperative for success.
Chris Taylor is an experienced legal assistant at Richard Nelson LLP with over five years in the field.
This is a guest post for The Employable