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Beginner's Guide

Your first-year university checklist

updated on 29 August 2023

You’re at university (law or non-law) and want to know what you should be doing. Here’s a brief checklist to get you started:

  • Keep up with the business sections on newspapers’ websites and LawCareers.Net’s weekly commercial news round-up 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 to LCN Weekly on LawCareers.Net. Our free weekly email newsletter delivers 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 – this could count towards your qualifying work experience if you want to qualify as a solicitor. Explore the range of diversity organisations that help future lawyers.
  • 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 – yes, your first-year grades count in law firm applications. 

  • Join your university’s student law society. They’ll support you with events, presentations, information sessions and more. Plus, you can meet other students in the same position as you.
  • Engage with some of the extracurricular options at university (eg, sport, debating, mooting or music) to make yourself into a well-rounded candidate.

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