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First-year university checklist

Your first-year university and onwards checklist

You’re at university (law or non-law) and you want to know what you should be doing. Here is a brief checklist to get you started and help focus your mind:

  • Keep up with the business sections on newspapers’ websites to improve your commercial awareness, but also read the more specific legal press – a couple of the more reputable broadsheet newspapers also have great law sections.
  • Talk to your careers adviser at university to work on your application and interview technique, and to see if they have any contacts at local firms/chambers.
  • Get some practical work experience at a law firm, barristers’ chambers or legal advice centre.
  • Think about where you might like to apply for a vac scheme/mini-pupillage next year. Vac scheme applications are usually made in the autumn term prior to your training contract applications.
  • Go to law fairs in October/ November and firm presentations to meet people face to face. Think about how to stand out by asking good questions, such as about a firm’s or chambers’ recent case that you read about in the press.
  • Go to firm open days (for which there is sometimes an application process), often aimed specifically at first years, and held in the winter and spring terms.
  • Continue to work hard at your academic studies. Recruiters want to see exemplary grades and yes, your first-year grades do count!
  • Talk to friends, parents, acquaintances – anyone with a connection to the legal profession.
  • Engage with some of the extracurricular options at university (eg, sport, debating, mooting or music) in an effort to make yourself into a well-rounded candidate.
  • Consider whether you want to become a solicitor or barrister.


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