The benefits of competitions for non-law students
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Competitions are a great way to try something new, get involved with something outside of your studies and take a positive step towards a legal career during your non-law degree.
Without having studied law yet, it might sound a little strange to sign up for a legal-based competition and can feel like you are stepping outside of your comfort zone – but there are great benefits to gain from pushing yourself and taking advantage of the opportunities available to you.
Every competition is different and while most have a legal element, they do not solely test legal knowledge. This means that your non-law background should not hinder you from getting involved! For example, in a client-interviewing competition, you will be challenged with finding out the relevant information that you need from a client and providing support and initial guidance that is relevant to their situation; this will test your communication and problem-solving skills. Other competitions could involve researching an area and putting together a presentation that you would pitch to a potential client; this might be teamwork orientated and a test of your research and analysis skills.
There are so many different types of competition that university law societies or individual firms might run throughout the year – so your options are endless! If you are considering taking part in a competition or are a little hesitant to sign up, here are a few of the valuable things that you can gain from getting involved during your non-law degree, and which may encourage you to give it a go!
Apply and develop your skills in a practical way
Taking part in any competition allows you to use a lot of the skills that you have already developed in a legally relevant way. This can be helpful not only to continue to grow your skill set and feel more confident applying yourself to new situations, but can also be a great example later on when you are asked about a time that you used a particular skill.
Sometimes it can feel as though there are not always opportunities to use a lot of the skills that you have developed or would like to gain – especially during your undergraduate degree, when your strongest skills may be more academically focused. Entering competitions can offer a great chance to put your skills to the test while gaining insight into how they apply in a legal context.
An opportunity to learn something new
During your non-law degree, it can be difficult to find the time to explore big new subjects, such as the law, alongside your area of study. Taking part in competitions is a great way to explore the legal world a little further while being productive towards your overall goal and trying something new in your spare time.
Competitions vary in their demands on your time but will usually require some preparation beforehand in relation to whatever the competition involves. It might be that you need to develop a basic understanding of a legal area or some key general pointers for the type of task that you will be facing. This is a great way to gain initial exposure to the legal world alongside your degree.
Not only will you begin to learn more about the law, but you will also begin to consider the realities of being a lawyer. It might be that you find an area in which you are particularly interested during this process and which you would like to explore further when you get the chance. It might even help you to make some of the bigger decisions heading your way in regard to future studies and where you would like your legal career to develop!
Beginning to understand how a lawyer thinks
Most competitions are focused on the skills that lawyers use every day and which are important to the legal profession in general. It can sometimes be hard to gain insight into the reality of what a legal professional does – especially when you are coming from a non-law background. While competitions may provide only a snippet of this (and your understanding will grow continually throughout your career), they can be a great place to start while you are still studying for your undergraduate degree.
Taking the time to consider the various aspects of a legal career can be helpful as you progress with the application process and begin to study law. It can also help to consolidate your reasons for wanting to be a part of the profession. Finally, competitions are a great topic of conversation and can help to demonstrate the fact that you have gone beyond reading and have tried to put yourself in a lawyer’s shoes for an hour or two.