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Your second-year university checklist

updated on 19 February 2024

As you head into the second year of your degree (law or non-law), you might be wondering what to do to increase your chances of securing a job in the legal profession.

Here’s LawCareers.Net’s checklist to help you navigate second year:

  • Before making any applications, spend some time researching law firms and making a shortlist of your desired firms. Think about what practice areas you’re interested in, the type of firm (eg, magic circle, high street, boutique or international) and the clients that the firm works with. Without thorough research, your application will not be successful.
  • Apply for vacation schemes at your shortlisted firms. An important date for your diary is 31 January, as this is when many law firms set their spring/summer vacation scheme deadlines.
  • Make the most of your university careers service; it’s there to help you. (Read this LCN Says to find out how you can make the most of your university’s careers service.)
  • Sign up to LawCareers.Net to unlock a host of extra benefits. You’ll receive our weekly email newsletter with news and information about the profession and gain access to MyLCN.
  • Attend any relevant virtual and in-person events, including law fairs, firm open days, webinars and presentations.

For advice on how to prepare for, and get the most out of these events watch this LCN video on making the most of law fairs.

  • Get involved with your university’s law society; engage and make the most out of the opportunities on offer (eg, mooting).
  • Familiarise yourself with the new route to qualifying – the Solicitors Qualifying Exam (SQE) – via LCN’s dedicated SQE hub.
  • Try to secure work experience (legal or non-legal). This could be pro bono work or a part-time job to help build your transferrable skills. Check the Solicitors Regulation Authority’s requirements for qualifying work experience (QWE) because any legal experience you complete between now and taking the SQE exams could count as QWE.
  • Continue reading the business sections of news websites to improve your commercial awareness, but also read the more specific legal press – a couple of the more reputable broadsheet newspapers also have great law sections

Find out more about commercial awareness, its importance and how to build yours with LCN’s Commercial awareness dedicated hub – plus read our feature on trending commercial issues in 2024.

  • Continue to work hard at your academic studies.
  • Don’t forget to take some time out for yourself too. Getting into law is competitive and there’s no denying that you need to work hard but avoiding burnout and making sure you look after your mental health is also key.

The LawCareers.Net’s checklists for first-year and third-year students are also available to read.