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Running for a committee position at the end of first year

Running for a committee position at the end of first year

Joe Defries

25/03/2020

As I was recently elected president of the University of Bristol Law Club, in this article I will explore the key reasons why you should run for a committee position in your university’s law society and how you can achieve this. From boosting employability to bringing new ideas to the table and making friends, holding a committee position can be one of the most rewarding university experiences.

Boosting employability 

It’s no secret that holding a committee position will look good on your CV. But why? What is it about a committee position that impresses employers?

Being involved with the running of your university’s law society demonstrates that (among other things) you can lead, manage your time effectively and work well as a collaborative team member. Throughout the year, you’ll have ample opportunity to handle responsibility and work towards individual and team goals. Also, the skills acquired during your time as a committee member are easily transferable into a career in law.

Trainees must be reliable, manage their time and be able to work with people effectively. Your ability to handle criticism and make positive changes will improve if you throw yourself into such a visible position on campus. Graduate recruiters will appreciate the challenge you have taken on and recognise that above all else, you are passionate about law and willing to work hard.

If you are just running for a committee position to put it on your CV, it’ll be a long year. You must want to give back to your law society. 

Giving back 

One of the main reasons I ran for president of my university’s law society was that I had gained so much experience from it as a member; I attended careers dinners, open days, workshops and much more. Having been so involved with the society from the very start, I felt it was only right to give back and bring some of my own ideas to the table during my second year. I am excited by the prospect of being able to provide other students with the opportunities that I enjoyed during my first year. 

What will you have to do to be elected?

Although this will vary between universities, I had to create a manifesto poster, give a three-minute speech with a Q&A afterwards and campaign for four days. The only students who could vote were those who were paying society members. Even though campaigning can seem like a popularity contest, if you have developed sound policies by speaking to other students then you are heading in the right direction. I would advise you to invest a lot of time into social media campaigning but to not ignore the strength of face-to-face conversations. Facebook and Instagram will allow you to access many law society members instantly, so make sure your posts are professional.

Getting to know other law students 

One of the most rewarding aspects of being on your law society committee is the number of students you’ll be able to meet and connect with. Widening your network can only be a positive thing and you never know when these relationships could come in handy. Aside from the networking benefit, you will also make great friends on your committee as you will be working as a team throughout the year to host the best possible social, careers and diversity events. 

Balancing your position with your degree

An important factor which can’t be overlooked when holding a committee position is how well you’ll balance the role with your degree. Although it’ll depend on an individual student’s ability to manage time, many students struggle to find a good balance. To stay organised during your second year, (among other things) you’ll need a very structured routine and you must be consistent with your work. The number of meetings, events and planning which comes with a law society committee position means that you must work efficiently at your degree. 

Conclusion

Below are some additional points to consider:

  • Speak to current committee members about their experience of holding a committee position.
  • Prepare a speech and think about campaigning early. 
  • Get to know other candidates, as you could be working alongside these people if you’re elected.
  • Run for a committee position because you want to give back to your law society and challenge yourself, not just because it will look good on your CV.