Back to blog

LCN Blogs

How to stand out as a first-year law student

How to stand out as a first-year law student

Anisa Rahman Choudhury


Reading time: three minutes

Competition for a legal career is extremely high, and it pays to get ahead of the game, especially when the later years of law school have more obligations. Here are some suggestions on how to make your CV stand out. 

1. Take initiative – do your research!

There’s no shortcut. Employees look for proactive students, so you need to be proactive! Taking the time to research legal opportunities not only gives you things to do, but will give you a better insight into what career you would like to pursue. Some keywords to search are:

  • (virtual) work experience;
  • networking events;
  • first-year insight schemes;
  • mini-pupillages; and
  • public speaking and essay competitions.

2. Try hard with your studies

While most law schools only need you to pass the first year, you need to be putting in effort for your studies. Your amazing transcript can then be used when applying for schemes in the second year. But you’ll also learn how to learn – university is a big transition from earlier education, so this is the time to adjust and develop your studying techniques. If you're still struggling with content, don’t be shy to ask your lecturers or tutors for help. 

3. Societies and sports

Of course, there are inherent benefits in having these activities that are separate from your degree. Showing that you can balance the above with extracurriculars is very impressive, especially if you can take leadership positions – eg, on the committee, captain of a sports team, etc. There's most likely a law society at your university so you should sign up for opportunities to literally be served on a silver plate.

There's more information on how your student law society can support you via this LCN Says.

4. University opportunities 

Make the most out of your university; whether it’s volunteering, internships or just fun activities, there’s always something going on. I was able to do fully-funded project work in Ghana through my university, so it’s worth reading your emails! Charity work is extremely important in life generally. But there's a strong link between volunteering, the law and the drive for social change. So if you're interested in human rights or international relations, for example, look into which charities your university works with. Also, if you don’t want to do a year abroad for your studies, there are shorter exchange opportunities to keep an eye out for. 

5. Reading the news

Law is one of the most topical subjects there is, if not, the most. By staying up to date with current affairs, you can make connections in your studies to the real world, going one step further in your exams and scoring high grades. Also, you become a more well-informed and analytical person. While the news often gets a bad reputation as boring, give it some time and you’ll end up falling into a habit. Your studies can often help you understand the news better, like public law and politics. Look around to see what media interests you – eg, podcasts, apps like BBC News, subscriptions to specific newspapers, etc. 

Take the time to enjoy your first year, but ensure that you're not just coasting as free time can really be utilised with these low-maintenance suggestions. Best of luck!