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First-year law students

First-year action plan

updated on 09 March 2020

You’re in the first year of your law degree and you want to know what you should be doing. Here is a brief checklist to get you started:

  • Keep up with the business sections on newspapers’ 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.
  • Work with your university careers adviser on your application and interview technique, and start to think about where you might like to apply for a vacation scheme/mini-pupillage next year.
  • Sign up free to LCN Weekly on LawCareers.Net. Our weekly email newsletter will deliver news and information about the profession, plus advice and reminders throughout the legal recruitment calendar, straight to your inbox.
  • Get some practical work experience at a law firm, barristers’ chambers or legal advice centre. Talk to friends, family, acquaintances – anyone with a connection to the legal profession.
  • Go to law fairs, firm presentations and open days to meet people face to face. Think about how to stand out by asking good questions (eg, about a recent deal, case or merger).
  • Continue to work hard at your academic studies. Recruiters want to see exemplary grades and yes, your first-year grades do count!
  • Engage with some of the extracurricular options at university (eg, sport, debating, mooting or music) to make yourself into a well-rounded candidate.
  • Consider whether you want to become a solicitor or barrister. Read the ‘Solicitors’ and ‘Barristers’ sections in The LawCareers.Net Handbook (available free at university law departments, careers services and law fairs) to help you decide.
  • Join your student law society who will be able to support you with events, presentations, information sessions and more. Plus, you will be able to meet other students in the same position as you.
  • Finally: listen to the third episode of The LawCareers.Net Podcast which has many tips from careers advisers, graduate recruiters and student law society presidents on things to do in your first year.