Commerciality The legal world is part of the business world. If you have ambitions to work for a commercial
law firm, it is essential to develop a good understanding of the issues and events affecting businesses. Read the Financial Times and The Economist from time to time, and try to appreciate the appropriate legal issues thrown up by your studies from a commercial perspective.
Experience You need a combination of work experience (both legal and otherwise) and extracurricular activities
to become the all-rounder that firms/ chambers want to hire. One without the other isn’t enough; having both strings to your bow will help you demonstrate that you have the skills the employer is looking for.
Diversity Historically, the
legal profession was overwhelmingly white, male and privately
educated, and more still needs to be done to improve equal representation, particularly at the senior end of the profession. This is not to say that if you don’t meet those outdated, narrow criteria, you should be put off – quite the opposite. What it does mean is that you should have your eyes open to the opportunities available. The legal profession is much more diverse than it used to be. There are also organisations which work to help students from less- privileged backgrounds access the career opportunities that law has to offer. Organisations such as Aspiring Solicitors, Rare and Sponsors for Educational Opportunity (SEO) work for free with students to provide one-to-one advice on CVs, application forms and interview practice, while also working with employers to provide work experience opportunities and improve openness.
Online Make sure you set up a LinkedIn profile to connect with employers and other contacts you
will be making, and start to build up the ‘professional’ side of your social media presence. Remember when you apply, recruiters may Google your name, so don’t have anything too crazy available to view publicly on Facebook. Meanwhile, legal Twitter is a great place to learn about the profession and start building your knowledge.
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