16/01/2019 Why it's worth joining the law society at university

Why it's worth joining the law society at university

With January upon us and ahead of the refreshers fair, taking on a position of responsibility at your university’s law society may be worth considering. Having held some positions of responsibility during the academic term, I have been inspired to write about the value of getting involved with your university's law society.

For those who are unaware, law societies are academic societies run by students, for students. As student-run organisations, they tend to organise social events, pro bono activities, mooting activities, publish law journals and organise the much-anticipated annual Law Ball. That said, although the main body is made up of aspiring lawyers, you don’t have to be a law student to become a member.

My university’s Law Soc has organised a talk by Lady Hale, a tour of the Royal Courts of Justice, an annual Law Ball at the Royal Horseguards Hotel, a festive Christmas Party with other societies and an end-of-year party. The Law Soc also published its first issue of a law journal, which will be carried forward by future committee members.

Being involved in the Law Soc is beneficial in more ways than one; it not only enhances your student experience, but also helps personal development. The Law Soc helps to build your CV and brings you closer to others on your course through weekly socials.

Following my successful secretarial role in my first year, I wanted to continue my involvement with the law society, so I subsequently ran for communications officer. One of the main reasons I ran for this role was to improve my soft skills (eg, communication and interpersonal skills) and strengthen the connections between the Law Soc and students on campus. One misconception about this role is that it’s limited to just sending out emails, liaising with law firms and communicating with students. There is also a lot of paperwork that must be done before the student’s union can green light any of our professional and social events. My role involves a lot of behind-the-scenes work with the student’s union, such as booking rooms and venues.

Another misconception is that it is easy to run a university society. This isn’t true at all – and if you’re considering applying for a position on a committee, think long and hard about the responsibility and level of commitment involved. With the size of committees and everyone having different timetables, it can often be challenging to get everyone together in one place. Putting that aside, I understand that putting yourself forward for an elected position can often be daunting, so I have come up with four benefits of joining a student society, which will hopefully encourage others.

Socialise

Being far from home, I’ve found that university life can often feel isolating but getting involved with the law society has enhanced my student experience. Sitting on the committee has given me the opportunity to meet like-minded people on my course and given me the chance to network with third-year students and graduates, some of whom have helped me with my coursework, offered crucial examination tips and advice on third-year electives.

Experience

Another positive effect of joining the law society is the invaluable experience that you accumulate. Being involved in the law society for two years running has had a positive effect on my employment prospects. It has boosted my CV by showing that I can strike a balance between my academic and extracurricular activities. Moreover, listing that you were part of your university’s law society will help you stand out from the crowd because you’ve held a position of responsibility, while demonstrating your passion for law – which graduate recruiters love!

Life skills

Getting involved with the law society has enhanced my personal development. I have found that undertaking extracurricular activities and positions of responsibility has helped to develop a number of skills. This includes, but is not limited to, communication, organisational, teamwork and leadership skills –  attributes that most employers seek in applicants.

Confidence

The most important thing that I have gained with the law society is a confidence boost. Putting myself forward felt daunting at first, and I was scared that I wouldn’t secure the position I was applying for, but I am glad that I did it. Therefore, I would highly recommend students to try something new and step outside their comfort zone, I promise that you will feel more confident as a person afterwards!

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