Having just wrapped up in Bristol, all of the LawCareersNetLIVE events are now over for 2019! This year I decided to attend the Manchester event, having attended the London event in 2018. I am based in Sheffield, so this was partly out of convenience, but also as I thought that the firms in Manchester were ones with which I hadn’t had a lot of interaction before, so it would be a good opportunity to find out more.
The LawCareersNetLIVE events are by application only and there is a lot of competition for places. A variety of students and graduates attend, from a wide range of degree backgrounds. In terms of venue and logistics, both events have been really central and close to transport links, and both were held at nice venues with an amazing range of food. Dress smart for all LawCareersNetLIVE events wherever they are held, as you are making an impression on a lot of people throughout the day. There are plenty of breaks where you can network with the firms that are there and with the other attendees. Really make the most of these opportunities as there are so many people to talk to and you can often spot people you’ve met at previous events.
The law firms attending in Manchester were national and international firms with a strong presence outside London, but equally there were firms that operate in London too. When I attended the LawCareersNetLIVE London event last year, it was a great opportunity to meet firms that don’t often come to northern universities, such as big US firms. However, having refined my search over the last year, I have found that those types of firm aren’t for me. I think it is important to go to the event that you will get the most out of and pick the location with the sponsors you could see yourself working for, even if it isn’t necessarily geographically the closest. In every location there is a good mix of practice areas with many full-service firms, but private wealth firms and more specialised areas are represented too. An advantage I noticed this year in Manchester over London was that there seemed to be a better ‘student-to-law-firm ratio’, I often found myself talking to someone one-to-one or in smaller groups, which I found made it easier to ask questions and have a conversation.
This year in Manchester I attended workshops on private equity led by Weil, Gotshal Manges and autonomous vehicles led by Gowling. My rationale for choosing these was that private equity can be such a difficult area of law to understand, but it is a large part of many law firms’ practices, so an interactive workshop was great for getting to grips with the topic. I chose autonomous vehicles because it seems like an exciting area of law and the presentation was very interesting and informative. The LCN team work really hard to make sure they can place people in their top choices of workshops where possible, so make the most of these and ask lots of questions.
The panel events are also great places to ask questions. The questions put to the panel are a mix of audience questions, themes drawn from application forms and guided discussions. Try and have some good original questions and don’t be shy to ask them! You will most likely be doing everyone else in the room a favour by asking them, as they might have had the same question. I was a little surprised that people are still asking questions about AI stealing lawyers’ jobs and Brexit, as these topics really have been done to death. If you have a unique stance, or if you are reading this before LawCareersNetLIVE 2020 and some evolution has happened with Brexit, then ask away, but for now, it’s an uncertain topic and lawyers cannot predict what is going to happen.
I cannot recommend enough going along to a LawCareersNetLIVE event next year. They are a unique opportunity to network with firms and get some really good information on what lawyers in those firms actually do.