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Your third-year university checklist

updated on 18 March 2022

As you start the third year of your university degree (law or non-law), you are one step closer to your dream job at your dream law firm.

We have created a checklist to help you stay organised in your final year:

  • As you start your third year, it’s time to research potential employers and apply for training contracts more intensively. Create a shortlist of firms to focus your applications on. This will help you to tailor your applications. ‘Copy and paste’ applications will not secure you a training contract – recruiters will see right through them.

Read LCN’s guide to training contract applications for more advice.

  • Familiarise yourself with the Solicitors Qualifying Exam (SQE) via LCN’s SQE hub. If you’ve not been accepted onto a training contract at a firm that is using the traditional two-year training contract as your qualifying work experience (QWE), you will need to start building up your two-years QWE, which is required in order to qualify as a solicitor via the SQE.
  • Non-law students in the final year of their degree should also apply for vacation schemes and training contracts.
     
  • Decide on the postgraduate training you will need after you graduate and apply for a place on your chosen course. Either continue straight on with your studies the September after graduating or take some time out to gain work experience – it’s up to you.

See LCN’s legal career paths section to get started. And, use our guide to SQE preparation courses to find your next step.

  • Aspiring solicitors in the final year of a law degree should apply for the Legal Practice Course or an SQE preparation course.
  • Aspiring barristers in the final year of a law degree should apply to take a Bar course – this is a mandatory stage of training to become a barrister.
  • Non-law students in their final year should apply for a place on a law conversion course from September in the Autumn term. Law conversion courses for non-law graduates aiming to qualify as a solicitor are no longer compulsory via the SQE but instead highly recommended. It’s unlikely that a non-law graduate will pass the SQE exams without first completing a law conversion and SQE preparation.

Read LCN’s guide to SQE preparation courses for a list of courses developed in line with the new system or use LCN’s courses search!

  • Maintain an interest in legal and business news throughout your third year. It’s not enough to just read the news, you must also be analysing it and considering how it could affect a law firm’s clients, the practice areas and the law firm itself, as a business.

Find out more about commercial awareness, its importance and how to build yours with LCN’s commercial awareness dedicated hub.

  • Continue to get involved with your university’s law society; engage and make the most out of the opportunities on offer (eg, mooting) and use your university’s careers service while it is still available to you.

Listen to this LawCareers.Net Podcast episode on the benefits of mooting.

  • While there is lots to be getting on with during your third year, taking time for yourself is still important and it always will be. Make selfcare a regular part of your routine – find what works for you and give yourself the time you need to practise this.

Watch this LCN video by Elizabeth Rimmer from legal charity LawCare on how to look after your mental health as a law student.

  • If you’ve reached the end of your LLB and are unsure whether a career in law is right for you, check out LCN’s alternative careers section to see what else you can do with your versatile degree.

LCN’s checklists for first-year and second-year students are also available to read.