updated on 05 September 2023
A new academic year is beginning and with it a new round of work experience, training contract and pupillage opportunities. LawCareers.Net has lots of tips on how to work your way into a legal career, including information on self-analysis, research, virtual law fairs and where to access support.
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Starting a new year of university can be overwhelming, whether you’re in your first, second, third or fourth year. Not to worry, LawCareers.Net (LCN) is here to help guide you through the 2023/24 recruitment cycle for training contracts, vacation schemes, pupillage interviews and more!
On LCN, you’ll find a range of information about solicitors’ firms, barristers’ chambers, their recruitment process and application deadlines, as well as the opportunities available to students in terms of work experience, open days and pro bono. We also provide free tools to make your research faster and easier to organise. Here’s what you should be doing over the coming months.
Sign up to MyLCN, your free personal account on LawCareers.Net that allows you to keep all your legal career information in one place. It’s an essential companion in your search for a training contract or pupillage, where you have access to the following tools.
Save all the firms and chambers that you’re interested in so you can make private notes and keep track of your application progress all in one place. The application deadlines of firms you’ve added to MyLCN will also automatically appear in your calendar. Click on the ‘Bookmark’ button to save a firm and let MyLCN manage your notes and deadlines.
Create your own information library. You can add links to external sites and make notes about items in Pages.
Never miss an important event or deadline again by adding diary events that you’re interested in to your Calendar. Your Calendar also displays upcoming deadlines at firms or chambers that you’ve added to MyLCN. You’ll receive a reminder email for upcoming events and deadlines.
LCN's Jobs section features ads from firms and organisations around the country looking to hire trainees, paralegals, legal assistants and caseworkers. Some organisations post short-term work experience (both paid and unpaid) and volunteer positions. It’s likely that some of these may appeal to you and, as such, you can save those that you’re interested in or have applied for direct to your Jobs board, so you can make notes and keep track of any deadlines.
Save time on your application forms by keeping a central hub of key information about yourself (eg, GCSE and A-level results) and then copy this information into most AllHires application forms using MyLocker. A full list of MyLocker firms is available via the MyLocker section.
University law fairs will be taking place on campus or virtually across the country during the autumn term. Make sure you do your research and book your spot to attend law fairs you’re interested in.
Trainees, recruiters and partners will be present to advise students and graduates about their careers, applications, work experience and to answer questions about their organisations.
Read up on how to maximise your time at a law fair.
In addition to the fairs, firms will be running individual insight days and presentations over the upcoming months. Attending these events is a great way to start learning more about firms and what differentiates them – and identifying those that might be a good fit for you. Firms’ working cultures differ considerably, so this area of your research is important.
Find out how to prepare for law firm insight days and presentations in this Feature. Don’t forget to check out this list of law firm open days and insight schemes!
At these events, recruiters will be taking a good look at the available talent ahead of firms’ winter, spring and summer vacation schemes. These experiences offer you fantastic insights into firms’ working practices, culture and general ethos. This, of course, depends on the individual organisation so make sure you do your research. You should also speak to recruiters at law fairs to find out more about what their vacation schemes involve.
You can also read insights into these schemes from those who’ve come before you in these Vacation Scheme Insider reports.
Competition for a place on these vacation schemes is high, so start thinking about them early on. If you’re lucky enough to get a place, celebrate it as an indication that you could also get a training contract at the end of it. And if you think you're fit for the Bar, mini-pupillages (virtual or in person) are practically the only way to be seriously considered by chambers.
Securing a career in law starts with solid research. Identify your important criteria (eg, size, location or practice areas) and find firms/chambers that match. Never underestimate how pleased recruiters at law fairs are when they meet a well-informed candidate. LCN is the most comprehensive online guide to training contracts and pupillages, including the News and Commercial Question sections.
Check out the Solicitors’ Practice Area Profiles or the Barristers’ Practice Area Profiles to get a sense of the different areas of law and the type of work you might find yourself doing in years to come!
Although you're competing for a job and need to do a lot of independent research, don’t forget that external support is vital. Under-utilising your university careers service is a big mistake – you’ll miss out on a wealth of incredibly useful advice. University advisers can give you a candid assessment of your career prospects and how to enhance them. Lecturers can also provide input on your ideas.
And don’t forget LCN! Study the many lawyers profiled in the Practice Area Profiles and Meet the Lawyer sections to figure out what they did that you haven’t yet done. Remember – the earlier you start, the higher your chances of success. Do your homework, create a list of the actions you need to take, meet recruiters and apply for the relevant vacation schemes or mini-pupillages.
Ellie Nicholl is a content and engagement coordinator at LawCareers.Net.