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LCN Says

Five tips for flawless LawCareersNetLIVE applications

updated on 21 September 2021

To secure a place at one of the LawCareersNetLIVE student conferences you must submit a top-class application. These applications are very similar to training contract applications.

We offer delegate places to candidates that we believe could become excellent trainees so we are looking for the same qualities that firms want to see. While the advice below is focused on the LawCareersNetLIVE application form, it can also be applied to law firm applications.

LawCareersNetLIVE offers three unique events designed to give delegates a greater understanding of what life working at a law firm is like and to provide opportunities to network with solicitors, recruiters and trainees. The conferences take place in Manchester, London and virtually in late November and early December.

Here are my five tips for a flawless application:

1 – Be yourself

We’re not looking for identikit delegates in the same way that firms don’t want identikit trainees. It’s important to be yourself on the application form. We want to know why you are interested in pursuing a career in law and how you are working towards your goal. Attending one of the events is a great chance to get a foothold in the profession so we are looking for people who can speak clearly and constructively about why they want to be a lawyer.

On top of the above, delegates should also highlight their other interests aside from law. What activities do you get involved in? Are you captain of a sports team? Do you play an instrument in an orchestra? Did you take initiative and set up a society at your university?

If you decide to mention your extracurricular activities, make sure it is relevant to the question being asked. For example, is it a way for you to showcase a key skill? This is the type of detail that will set you apart and showcase your personality; despite the growing presence of AI machines, law firms want people, not robots.

At LawCareers.Net we aspire to promote a diverse and inclusive legal profession that reflects the society it represents. We are looking for delegates from a variety of backgrounds. To this end, we blind screen applications and two of the LawCareers.Net team assess each application. We understand that not everyone has the same opportunities so there are no minimum academic requirements to secure a place on one of the conferences. We review all applications regardless of academic result or university attended.

2 – Give full responses to all questions

Do not leave any sections of the application form blank! We are asking for information for a reason so don’t leave it out without an explanation. And make sure you answer the question being asked. This is particularly relevant for the long-answer questions – the point at which many applicants falter.

The main thing to remember is to give yourself enough time to fully prepare. You should:

  • take time to fully consider what is being asked;
  • plan your response to each question before you start writing the answers;
  • decide which examples to include in which answer;
  • back up all claims with evidence;
  • try not to repeat yourself;
  • prove that you have fully researched the event/firm you are applying to;
  • not regurgitate the event/firm website;
  • demonstrate why you would make a great lawyer; and
  • give authentic, personal responses.

A note on word count – this is an indicator of how much we expect you to write in your answer. If you are not close to the word limit, you are unlikely to have answered the question properly.

3 – Demonstrate skills

No one expects you to be the finished article, but you need to show that you:

  • understand what skills a lawyer needs; and
  • are taking steps to further improve yours.

In the work experience section, we want to hear about any work experience (legal or non-legal) you have undertaken, be it a formal vacation scheme or working on a supermarket checkout. With regards to legal work experience, it’s not just formal vacation schemes that count. If you have spent a day work-shadowing a solicitor or been to a firm’s open day, mention this.

Don’t forget to include any non-legal work experience you have (either paid or voluntary work) as this can demonstrate a great range of skills, for example:

  • how you interact with colleagues or customers in a formal environment;
  • how you respond to different situations; and
  • how you organise your time.

Make sure that you not only outline what tasks you undertook but also, and more importantly, what skills you gained from this experience.

The long answer question “Please tell us why you believe you possess the skills and attributes to become a successful commercial lawyer” is your opportunity to demonstrate that you are dedicated to a career in commercial law and that you have the skills that it takes to be successful. We want to see evidence that you have strong communication skills – this shows us that you will have the confidence to network at the event. Other skills we would like to see evidence of include:

  • teamwork;
  • leadership;
  • commercial awareness;
  • drive;
  • enthusiasm;
  • motivation;
  • resilience;
  • accuracy;
  • attention to detail;
  • negotiation;
  • client care;
  • initiative;
  • dedication; and
  • interpersonal skills.

This is a non-exhaustive list – I could go on! These are the same skills that a law firm wants to see in its future trainee solicitors. Refer to your own experience and interests to back up your claims about each skill.

4 – Think commercially

The LawCareersNetLIVE conferences are aimed at people who want to be commercial lawyers. The long answer questions are your opportunity to prove your commitment to becoming a commercial lawyer. In your response to “Why do you want to attend the LawCareersNetLIVE conference and meet our law firm sponsors?” we expect you to show that you understand the legal profession and what the work of a lawyer involves. We want to be sure that delegates attending our conferences understand what the purpose of the event is, what they can gain from meeting the sponsor firms and, in turn, what they can offer to those firms.

We expect to see evidence of your commercial awareness and interest in both the legal profession and the business world throughout your application. This indicates to us that you will ask thought-provoking questions during both the firm-led workshops and the panel discussions at the event. Use your response to “What one question would you ask a panel of law firm partners in order to gain insight into the legal profession?” to showcase your understanding of the profession and current hot topics.

5 – Avoid basic mistakes

This should go without saying but time and time again we see applicants making basic mistakes. You must approach your LawCareersNetLIVE application form as you would a training contract application form. That means taking your time and giving it the same care and attention. Remember to:

  • double check your spelling and grammar and use a professional tone (see: How to write the perfect cover letter, CV or application form);
  • spell the event name correctly – or in the case of a training contract application, the firm’s name;
  • write fully formed sentences in correct English – no random capitalisation, start sentences with a capital letter and no text-speak;
  • answer every question – and answer the question being asked;
  • keep to the word limit;
  • check and recheck (and ask someone else to check) the application before submitting; and
  • submit before the deadline.

This is all good practice for vacation scheme and training contract applications and following these tips should help you to make a perfect application.

How can I apply to LawCareersNetLIVE?

If you believe that you can take this advice on board and make a top-class application, as well as be an engaged and proactive delegate, we would love to have you at one of the conferences.

APPLY NOW

The deadline for applications is 28 October 2021, but we are offering places on a rolling basis. You will be notified by email if you have been accepted for a place at the event, at which point you will be asked to select workshops and pay the delegate fee of £29 (Manchester and London) or £10 (virtual).

Please note that all event attendees (sponsors and delegates) at the London and Manchester events, will be required to show either:

  • proof of full vaccination;
  • a negative lateral flow test (taken within 48 hours of the event commencing); or
  • the presence of covid-19 antibodies (recovery from covid-19 within the last 180 days).

For further information visit the LawCareersNetLIVE website.