updated on 19 March 2020
It’s been a funny couple of weeks. With the government’s recommendation to work from home if possible, schools and universities closing across the country and many people self-isolating due to the coronavirus pandemic, it seems that our everyday lives will be altered for the foreseeable future.
If you are staying at home, however, there are plenty of things you can do to tidy up your work experience, reassess your focus, and ultimately boost your legal career prospects. Here are my five ideas of things to do to stay focused.
1. Analyse your work experience
A lot of students don’t realise just how much work should go into preparing your skills and experiences before you even start writing an application. Create a spreadsheet or table of all the pieces of work experience that you have – law and non-law related – and pull out everything you did, and which skills you demonstrated. For example, if you worked at a restaurant or bar, you can use examples such as interacting with customers to show that you know how to deal with clients, and operating the till as an example of your trustworthiness.
Check against these key skills that all recruiters will want to see evidence of and then you can see which ones you are missing. Once you have organised and analysed your previous experience and what you got out of it, it will be much easier to sprinkle these throughout the relevant questions when it comes to making an application.
2. Catch up with the latest developments
The c-word notwithstanding, there have been many changes to the legal world and how it recruits in recent years. Now is the perfect time to wrap your head around the biggest changes and upheaval. Read this Feature all about the new Solicitors Qualifying Exam which all solicitors will have to take from 2021 in order to qualify. If you’re going down the barrister route, you will need to know how the process of becoming a barrister is changing. Elsewhere you might want to boost your commercial awareness by reading our recent Commercial Questions, covering topics such as how companies can prepare for the discontinuance of LIBOR at the end of 2021, AI’s role in the future of inventions and when cyber-attacks become an act of war. Taking some time to really investigate and analyse these issues will benefit your knowledge of the business and legal world, and feed into future applications.
3. Look at your LinkedIn profile
If you’ve been putting off updating your LinkedIn profile for a while, you now have the time to sit down and bring it fully up to date. Have you got a professional profile picture, or a cover image? Have you updated your grades and latest work experience? Listen to the latest episode of The LawCareers.Net Podcast which runs through how to make the most of LinkedIn as a law student and read this LCN Says too. It will also be a good place to see how coronavirus is affecting those working in the profession.
4. Meet lawyers – virtually
There are certainly going to be some changes to how students access and meet legal professionals over the coming months. But don’t fret – our Meet the Lawyer interviews allow you to find out what it’s like to work at over 30 law firms. The profiles give you the opportunity to get to grips with how these law firms recruit and train, what the interviewees do on a day-to-day basis and their advice for budding solicitors. It’s a fantastic way to hear from recently qualified solicitors. Check out this playlist on YouTube for our video interviews with lawyers from firms such as Farrer & Co, Shoosmiths, Osborne Clarke LLP and Ashurst.
5. Watch videos and listen to podcasts
We’re all discovering how much more time we have now that we’re staying at home and I’m not saying that all your hours need to be filled with law-related activities – but there are many brilliant legal YouTube channels and podcasts out there that you can get stuck into. Of course, you should firstly watch the LawCareers.Net YouTube channel for insights from recruiters, lawyers and the LCN team. Everybody knows Eve Cornwell is a legal vlogger and trainee at Linklaters and her latest video of her evacuating the office in the recent pandemic has already received over 75,000 views. Law and Broader is also a great channel by Irwin Mitchell solicitor Chrissie Wolfe. For podcasts, check out this list. And, of course, when all else fails – there’s always Legally Blonde on Netflix!
LawCareers.Net will continue to bring you the latest news of the coronavirus impact on the profession and advice for aspiring lawyers. Stay safe and stay inside.
Bethany Wren is content and events manager at LawCareers.Net.