While having some form of work experience is pretty par for the course, we’ve listed some crafty ways to get law work experience that might just help your application stand out. Let’s get stuck in!
1. Apply for Springpod’s Law Virtual Work Experience programme
Trying out a virtual programme is the EASIEST way to start adding to your CV/personal statement. Springpod offers a two-week Law Virtual Work Experience programme that takes place at multiple points during the year. During the course of the programme, you’ll take part in industry activities and quizzes, and get to question the experts in live webinars.
We may be biased but we think this programme gives you a great understanding of what a career in law looks like, from advocacy and client communication to contractual interpretation, this programme has it all. To top it off you’ll also get a certificate!
Register your interest here today, like right now, go go go!
2. Speak to your school or college
One of the easiest (and most overlooked!) ways to get valuable work experience is to speak to your existing contacts and use your network. Teachers, careers advisors or other students are all people that should be in your professional network as you start out! Start searching for work experience by speaking to your school, as it’s likely a teacher at school has a contact that may be able to offer you a placement. It’s a careers advisor's job to build a list of contacts that can help their students, so it’s a better place to start than you think!
3. Charities and volunteer work
The ‘law’ doesn’t just happen in swanky board rooms or in court, it also happens at a local and individual level. Advocating and being the voice for those who need it is a huge part of the law, and it may well be one of the reasons you want to get into it. So, have a look at volunteering at some legal charities (or legal functions within charities). We recommend you check out The National Pro Bono Centre, NVCO and Law Works - all do excellent work in providing legal advice for those who need it most.
4. Visit your local court
Whilst this option doesn’t quite count as ‘work’ experience, demonstrating that you’ve taken the time to see what your chosen future job looks like in action shows a whole load of commitment. Courts are public buildings which means they’re open to the public. This means you can go to court the same way you’d go to the cinema (minus the popcorn!).
It’s worth noting that different courts decide on different things, so make sure you do your research beforehand so you can pursue an area you’re truly interested in. Alternatively, if you go to a few different courts (ie, criminal, civil etc), you’ll end up getting a pretty well-rounded view of what the legal system looks like.
If travelling is an issue, you’ll be pleased to know that all Supreme Court hearings are available to watch live and on-demand via their website. By spending some time learning how to navigate court websites and searching case numbers you’ll become fluent in legal jargon - making your learning curve a lot less steep later on.
5. Legal departments
So, perhaps you don’t know anyone that works at a law firm, but chances are you know someone that works in an office which has a legal department/function! Ask your friends and family members who work in an office if their workplace has a legal function and if there’s any way you can get involved.
Keep reading as in point 11 we’re linking a template we made to help you ask and approach companies about work experience.
6. Speak to a lawyer, solicitor, barrister, judge - heck, any legal professional!
You can gain a huge amount from simply speaking to a legal professional and even if they’re unable to offer work experience they’ll likely be willing to give you 15 minutes of their time. Having the ear of a legal professional can be invaluable as they can help contextualise things you’ve learnt in your studies so far, give you a well-rounded view of what the profession looks like, and how the legal process works. They might even know someone that could offer you work experience - it's worth asking!
Make sure you get the best out of your conversation, be sure to make a list of appropriate questions beforehand and reflect on what you’ve learnt afterwards!
7. Find local legal professionals
This is similar to the suggestion above, but it’s worth looking at the Law Society’s ‘find a solicitor’ tool. You’ll be able to filter your search by person, organisation, location and area of practice; so if you’re looking to find out more about a particular area of law, or are looking to specialise, you’ll know who to ask for help!
7.5 Jury duty
We know, we know, you can’t simply sign up for jury duty, but you can talk to someone who has experienced it. While this doesn’t quite count as work experience, getting someone's thoughts on the legal process might mean you learn something new and, at the very least, you’ve had an interesting discussion!
If you’ve had the opportunity to do jury duty then it deserves a place on your CV or personal statement. You can explain what you learnt from the process, your initial thoughts when you started and how they developed throughout your service. Taking part in jury duty or talking to someone who has, might just have ignited the spark that made you want to pursue law, so why not shout about it!
8. Use LinkedIn
In this article we’ve spoken a lot about reaching out to any legal professionals you might know, but what do you do if you don’t know any? Use LinkedIn to reach out to legal professionals and join groups so you can be up to date with the latest industry news.
Another great thing about LinkedIn is that loads of global law firms have a pretty established presence on the platform with teams dedicated to providing updates and thought-leadership articles; reading one of these every week will improve your understanding of how the sector actually works (rather than just the theory behind it), and if you can evidence this in your personal statement, CV and job applications, you’re onto a winner!
9. Join talent pools
We’ve put this point just below the LinkedIn one for a reason! Once you’ve found your favourite law companies on LinkedIn, go one step further and see if they have a talent pool or invite budding lawyers for open days - these steps will help you start building your legal network and you’ll likely be one of the first in the know when new opportunities arise!
10. Join the Law Society
The Law Society is an independent, member-run, professional body for solicitors in England and Wales. They are the voice of solicitors within England and Wales, they drive excellence in the profession, safeguard the rule of law and protect everyone's right to have access to justice. It’s worth becoming a Law Society Member as you’ll get access to the latest news, events and resources relevant to your interests.
11. Saving the best for last - try to secure a summer internship
We appreciate that securing an internship is way more difficult than it sounds, but we’ve put together a template for you to start sending to local law firms. Take a little time to personalise it and add some personal experience, and then get sending far and wide - what have you got to lose?
Remember, persistence pays off, so even if you haven’t heard back, keep trying.
Also being prompt and enthusiastic with any communication will stand you in good stead and even if your hard work doesn’t result in an internship that starts ASAP, congratulations are still in order as you’ve just started building your professional networking.