As you may or may not have noticed I have been rather quiet this week, thats because I’ve been doing work experience at a Law firm in Nottingham. I have absolutely loved my week, the solicitors I was with made sure I had a varied week in lots of different departments and lots of things to do. So big thank you to them, also I got to spend a week in Nottingham which is a beautiful city.
With the level of competition in gaining Training Contracts it is now essential that you have some form of work experience on your C.V, whether its a vacation scheme, internship or just straight forward work experience.
So I’m going to give you my top tips for gaining work experience and how to ace your work experience.
How to get Work Experience
- If you don’t ask you don’t get, when you get the opportunities to meet solicitors, barristers, chartered legal executives, chat to them and ask them for work experience. This is how I got my most of my work experience. I asked if there was any chance of me coming for a week and 99% of the time they say YES.
- Once you’ve asked get their contact details and follow up with an e-mail and cover letter, I always follow up within a few days so that its fresh in their mind.
- Be enthusiastic, so you don’t want to work in property who cares still tell them how much you will value the opportunity.
- Respond promptly to all correspondence, solicitors are busy busy people so they may take some time getting back to you. You do not have the same luxury always reply within 1-3 days of receiving the e-mail.
- Be flexible with dates if they offer a number of dates try and be as accommodating as possible, obviously if its a week before exams they will understand.
So you’ve got managed to get some work experience…whats next??
How to ace your Work Experience..
- Be on time! If you have to get up early to get the earlier Train/Bus/Car/Taxi/Tram then do it, nothing looks worse than turning up late on your first day. If you turn up early/on time it will make you look keen and ready for work, if you turn up late they will think you don’t care.
- If you are running late because your transport got delayed or something happened outside your control then contact them, it shows that you value the time they have set aside for you and that your still on your way.
- Dress smart (super smart) first impressions count for a lot (yes you shouldn’t be judged for how you look, but you will be). If you turn up smart and on time they will think “hey this person cares and is ready to learn”. If you turn up scruffy and late they will think “this person obviously doesn’t care”. So set aside some time the night before to iron your shirt and polish your shoes.
- Take a note pad with you, when someone asks you to do something take notes so that you get the task right. If you attend a meeting, court, client interview or conference call take lots of notes and then type them up for the solicitor your with. If they haven’t asked you to take notes offer beforehand it goes down well.
- If your given a task and you think there is something extra you can do ask them if you they would like you to do that little bit extra, it shows intuition and dedication to the task.
Thank everyone for giving up there time for you, they are busy busy people and they will appreciate the acknowledgement.
- If you have questions then ask them, every department I worked in I asked people lots of questions about their department, how they qualified, if they had an tips and what they enjoyed about the area of law they worked in. Advice is invaluable I gained an incredible insight into qualifying routes and day to day life which you won’t get from just going to lectures.
- Grab every single opportunity if both hands, if someone asks if you want to sit in on something say yes! One morning I had to get up at 5 am so that I could travel to sit in on a hearing, did i want to get up that early …not particularly. Did I still say yes and love every second…of course.
- Work on every task given like your being graded for it, there is a chance that you might apply to this firm for a training contract or vacation scheme. You want them to remember you as always working to high standard.
- Enjoy learning how a law firm runs and how various areas work. I love seeing law in practice the reality of tort law in theory to in practice is incredible. You might not enjoy that area in theory but in practice you might think is the best thing ever.
So those are my tips for getting and acing work experience I hope they help and if you have any tips let me know. Good luck in getting your foot in the door, the first step is asking for it. Sending huge sleepy Leicester cuddles.
Lady Law Student