updated on 17 December 2019
From terrific to tat, every year a plethora of law firms attempt to win the affection (and applications) of aspiring lawyers by wooing them with branded freebies available to pick up at law fairs and other events. As an independent legal career advice provider, we see it as our job to summarise the best freebies available to eagle-eyed students. Here’s what we picked up this year.
Battle of the bottles
The LCN team have been attending law fairs up and down the country for over 20 years, but somehow we are never not excited by the collection of water bottles that are available to pick up. It was clearly all about the Chilly’s style of water bottles this year, with HFW, Burges Salmon, Gowling, Dentons and Latham & Watkins all throwing their hats into the ring with similar styles of bottles. CMS’ Camelbak offering looks worryingly like a child’s sippy cup but is handily spill proof. South West-based Michelmores clearly wanted to appeal to outdoorsy candidates with their water bottle and carabiner attachment – perfect for all those hiking and camping trips law students have time for.
Winner: Latham & Watkins’ bottle. It just looks the nicest and most expensive. It even has a motivational quote on it so you can be inspired and hydrated at the same time.
It’s a broad category, but this year we decided to group together all the little bits that make you go “Ahh, I needed that!” when you pick them up from a law fair stand. In particular, a decent umbrella is always appreciated and Kirkland & Ellis’ swish automatic one was quickly snatched up among the LCN team in order to battle the British winter.
Watson Farley & Williams went with a travel theme this year with their lovely bright blue passport cover and their extremely useful travel adaptor. Meanwhile, it was Bluetooth speakers from BLM and Debevoise & Plimpton – nice, portable gadgets that feel a bit more special than a notebook or a pen.
Technology-wise, Simmons & Simmons have got you covered with their charging cable and Latham & Watkins’ power bank will charge your electric goods on the go with another inspirational quote (‘Power your ambition’ is quite a good pun to be honest). In case you’re worried that the government is spying on you, Shoosmiths want to protect your privacy with their webcam stickers, while Davis Polk’s phone-sticker-cum-stand was a good idea that sadly fell short of expectations as LCN’s Matt Broadbent found the mechanism unexpectedly popping up at inopportune moments.
Winner: Ropes & Gray’s woolly hat. Warm and practical – we love it!
This year it was great to see many firms realising that giving out tons of cheap plastic probably isn’t helping the planet, and so there was a definitive growing movement towards sustainable-themed freebies. Clearly the LCN team were bored of reusable coffee cups as we only picked up two this year, but Goodwin Procter’s sleek black and cork version is definitely one of the best ones we’ve seen over the years. Irwin Mitchell and Fisher Jones Greenwood Solicitors went for bamboo straws complete with travel pouch and cleaner which was a nice touch, while Walker Morris’ portable metal straws come in a range of colours and can be attached to your keys for the ultimate commitment to saying no to plastic straws.
Winner: Shoosmiths’ beeswax food wrap – a completely original idea that supports a local business while offering students a reusable alternative to cling film and other plastic.
Our final category is defined by the many weird and wonderful things law firms stick their logo on in the name of publicity. We’ve always enjoyed Bristows’ test tube smarties and this year their robot memory stick was much appreciated as we continually lose our memory sticks. We’ll be sure to take more care over this silly version.
US firm Morrison & Foerster were feeling particularly patriotic as they gave out tins in the shape of red London buses, while Milbank decided that the one thing students were missing was a branded wooden Jenga set. With Gateley’s funny-looking pen you can write up your lecture notes and clean your phone screen at the same time, while Mayer Brown’s fidget spinner charger is the mash-up of 2019 nobody knew they needed.
Winner: You decide! Tweet us @LawCareersNetUK with the strangest thing you have picked up at a law fair this year.
A special mention
We can’t finish this round-up of our favourite law fair freebies without mentioning the coveted Addleshaw Goddard colouring book. A unique idea, the colouring book is always popular among the LCN team and students alike, and this year’s book is no different. It’s the perfect gift for stressed-out students in need of some mindfulness.
And, of course, a big thank you to Mayer Brown who every year send us a lovely box of their brownies and other freebies which always puts a smile on our faces during the busy milk round season.
Bethany Wren is the content & events manager at LawCareers.Net.