Law fairs offer you an initial look at law firms. They are your chance to meet real lawyers (including trainees, associates and partners) and graduate recruiters, to quiz them about their firms and get a sense of what they are like, as well as make a good impression. They're also useful for non-law students who are considering a career in law and need to learn more about how to make that happen.
Law fairs take place at most universities across the country in the autumn term, so look out for posters and careers service emails to find out about yours. When it arrives at your university, the law fair will commandeer a large space like a sports hall or conference centre. Firms will bring large exhibition stands to grab your attention and quirky (or not so quirky) freebies to seduce you. At law fairs, everyone's a winner: you get to chat to recruiters and lawyers to find out what they really want in candidates and they get to take an initial look at you. It's much less intimidating than an interview.
Here are a few quick tips to maximise your chances of having a successful fair:
- Do your research beforehand into the firms that will be attending and write a hit list of the ones you'd like to talk to.
Speak confidently to the people on the stand (recruiters and lawyers) and ask interesting questions about their firm – avoid obvious questions which you could simply answer by reading the firm’s brochure or website. The recruiter will remember you if seem like a good candidate.
For more detailed info and advice on how to network successfully at a law fair, see our feature "Law fairs: network with solicitors and barristers, and learn about training contracts and pupillages". But if you'd just like some ideas of what you can speak to firms about, try preparing some questions on the:
- size of trainee intake and culture of the firm;
- types of client and range of business;
- locations (eg, London or the regions);
- style of training and range of experience offered to trainees; and
- opportunities for trainees to go on secondment to overseas offices.
Postgraduate course providers - law schools where you'll study after your degree - also have a presence at law fairs. You might want to ask them about the percentage of students who complete the postgrad courses but don't have a training contract/pupillage lined up, links with firms and chambers and whether you can defer the course to take a year out (if you're considering a gap year).
Here's a list of this year's law fairs. As more fairs are announced we will add to this list, so be sure to keep checking back for your university.