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Why should you get involved with your local JLD?

Why should you get involved with your local JLD?

Phil Steventon


The Junior Lawyers Division of the Law Society (JLD) is the national community for solicitor apprentices, LPC students and graduates, paralegals, trainee lawyers, and lawyers up to five years qualified. It was set up to provide junior lawyers with support, advice, information and networking opportunities at a national level, and to represent the views and interests of junior lawyers throughout England and Wales to the Law Society Council.

At a more local level, we see local JLDs run by junior lawyers for junior lawyers in the area, whether it is a city (such as Birmingham) or a region (such as the Black Country) to bring together junior lawyers based in these regions. Some may be called 'Trainee Solicitors Societies' or 'Young Lawyers Groups', but they still serve the same local junior lawyers.

These local divisions are independent of the national JLD but maintain good links so that local JLDs can stay connected to national issues in the profession that can impact us at a local level.

Much like university societies, these local divisions exist to bring together people with similar interests and goals, and foster a sense of community among junior lawyers in what is otherwise a very competitive profession.

Some local JLDs may have different membership criteria from the national JLD - eg, some might accept undergraduate students whereas the national JLD doesn’t tend to, and some may charge membership fees (£10 to £20 depending on the region) and put that money towards putting on events or supporting the local communities.

But what are the benefits of joining and getting involved with your local JLD?


Local JLDs are great for building your professional networks. Many members may have contacts with other groups in the region or other local JLDs in the country so your networking could also take you all over the country.

You can meet other junior lawyers at other firms in the area, possibly some senior lawyers and partners if they happen to make an appearance. You can build relationships, learn from each other, make friends, and learn more about the different firms in the region. You may even want to work at a particular firm based on what you learned from members.

Through networking with members, you can support each other through stages like applications, practice interviews or assessments, and unique insights and experiences at firms where members are based.

Events and socials

Local JLDs put on a number of events for members like meals out, activities like bowling or laser tag, food and drink making sessions, careers events, and even day trips. Activities are great opportunities to mix with your peers and colleagues outside of the four walls of the office.

If your local JLD asks for a membership fee or contribution towards the society, it's likely that this money goes towards deposits or fees for putting events on for members. But the fees for the year usually aren’t much, and we find that we feel a greater sense of ownership of our JLD when we put money towards it and we want to make the most of the 12 months of membership that we have paid for.

We’re more than just lawyers, and we don’t want to be doing law all day and all night. We’re human and social creatures, and we enjoy the social aspect of meeting people just for the sake of it. I’ve made a few friends through my local JLD and likely wouldn’t have been able to do so had I not gotten involved.

Careers advice

Local JLDs have good relationships with recruiters, agencies, and some nationally recognised recruiters and agents. Recruiters can appear at events put on by JLDs for students and graduates. These events could be CV clinics, practice assessments like Watson Glasers, practice interviews, and much more.

Since the start of the covid-19, local JLDs and their partners have come together to put on virtual panel events for members. There is no reason why they can’t continue, and the best thing is that they can be rewatched and reviewed again and again to take as much away from it as possible.


Being on the committee of your local JLD and having a hand in the day-to-day running of it can set you up exceptionally well for employment. This will involve representing the JLD to firms in the region, and making decisions on how the JLD invests its time and money over the course of the year. This means you can gain leadership skills, commercial decision making skills, and networking skills with a role on the committee.

Common committee roles include chair, vice chair, treasurer, social secretary, and national JLD representative. I am the treasurer of my local JLD, which means I’m responsible for reporting on the financial health of the charity and offering general commercial observations on income and spending. As the chair or vice chair, you’re essentially the directors of the society and have oversight of the entire JLD. The social secretary arranges events, the reps to the national JLD and the 'senior' local law societies represent the JLD to these bodies and can network on their own and the members’ behalf, and general committee members assist wherever extra hands are needed and so can build up well-rounded skills wherever they are needed.

In a time where we aspiring lawyers are being assessed on much more than our academic grades, getting involved with your local JLDs is an inexpensive but valuable way to build your network, build your skills, take part in fun activities, gain valuable insight into local firms, and make local friends.

Wherever you have the chance, I definitely encourage you to get involved!