updated on 07 September 2021
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.
After two long summers of social distancing, virtual training contract and pupillage interviews, and assessment centres, law firms and barristers’ chambers are gearing up for the 2021-22 recruitment cycle, to welcome this year’s cohort of future lawyers. This year will be different but if covid-19 has taught us anything, it is that there are a range of opportunities out there that are all accessible through your laptop or mobile device. To be in the race to secure a training contract or pupillage for as far away as 2024, you need to prepare.
LawCareers.Net (LCN) is a good starting point for learning about solicitors’ firms, barristers’ chambers, their recruitment processes 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 is what you should be doing over the coming months.
MyLCN: manage your career plans
Sign up to MyLCN, your free personal account on the site that allows you to keep all your legal career information in one place. It is an essential companion in your search for a training contract or pupillage, where you can:
Simply click on the ‘Bookmark’ button when you see an article, event or firm that you want to save. Your account dashboard displays an overview of all your research as well as the tools and features that are available to streamline your research, keep on top of your applications, save important articles and make your own notes.
Save all the firms and chambers that you are 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 have 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.
Calendar – don’t miss a deadline
Never miss an important event or deadline again by adding diary events that you are interested into your calendar. Your calendar also displays upcoming deadlines at firms or chambers that you have added to MyLCN. You will receive a calendar reminder email for upcoming events and deadlines.
LCN's Jobs section features ads from firms and organisations around the country looking to hire, among others, trainees, paralegals, legal assistants and caseworkers. Some organisations post short-term work experience (both paid and unpaid) and volunteer positions. It is 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 Jobs, so that you can make notes and keep track of any deadlines.
MyLocker – make online applications easier
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 Apply4Law application forms by using MyLocker. A full list of firms accepting MyLocker transfers is available here.
Virtual law fairs, work placement schemes and mini-pupillages
Usually, university law fairs take place on campuses across the country during the autumn term, but this year will be different due to the obvious impact of covid-19. Look out for virtual law fairs this autumn, including general events open to students from all universities, such as the virtual law fairs being organised by Legal Cheek and Aspiring Solicitors.
Trainees, recruiters and partners will be online to advise students and graduates about their careers, applications and work experience, and answer questions about their organisations. In addition to the fairs, firms will be running individual virtual presentations and Q&A sessions over the upcoming months. Attending a virtual law fair is also a great way to start learning more about firms and what differentiates them - and identifying those which might be a good fit for you. Firms’ working cultures differ considerably, so this area of your research is important.
At these virtual events, recruiters will be taking a good look at the available talent ahead of firms’ winter, spring and summer work placement schemes. Winter vacation schemes will almost certainly be virtual this year and speaking to recruiters at an online law fair is a great way to find out more about what they will involve. Spring and summer vacation schemes may be in-person or virtual – expect more news on this in the approaching months.
Securing a place on a work placement scheme is competitive, so you need to start thinking about them now and, if you 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. Details of upcoming law fairs and presentations can be found in the Diary and on the designated Law fairs page.
Researching your future legal career
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.
Make sure you use The LawCareers.Net Handbook 2022, published in October and available free in both digital and print versions from your law faculty or careers service.
Get help from your careers service and the experienced pros on LCN
Although you're competing for a job and must do a lot of independent research, external support is vital. Under-utilising your university careers service is a big mistake - you will miss out on a wealth of advice. Its advisers will 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. Check out the many lawyers profiled in the practice areas and Meet the Lawyer sections and think about what they did that you haven't yet done. Begin now and give yourself the best chance. Do your homework, reflect on what you need to do, and then get stuck in by meeting recruiters and applying for work placement schemes or mini-pupillages. Good luck!
Christianah Babajide is the content and engagement coordinator at LawCareers.Net.