Do insight days count as work experience?
Trying to navigate the world of legal work experience can feel overwhelming. Have you been unable to secure a vacation scheme? Are you worrying about how to make your work experience stand out? We discuss the value insight days can add to the work experience section of your CV.
What is an insight day?
Insight days, sometimes referred to as open days, workshops or presentation evenings, are events that allow aspiring lawyers to gain – you guessed it – insight into life at a law firm.
Insight days are great starting points to decide if a career in law is for you. If you’re set on a career in law, you can use insight days to learn more about the firms you’re interested in and narrow down which firm you would like to pursue.
What happens on an insight day will vary from firm to firm, but they almost always involve presentations and panel discussions with partners, associates, trainee solicitors and members of graduate recruitment. They can also involve group exercises, Q&As and even hands-on work experience. In-person insight days will also allow you to see inside a law firm’s chic office.
Participants may even pick up some application tips or useful information to include in vacation schemes and training contract applications – like who a firm’s key clients are.
Insight days as work experience
Whether you’re thinking about how to make your vacation scheme or training contract applications stand out, or simply looking to embellish your CV, insight days can be a great addition to your work experience section.
Firstly, most insight days involve a formal application process. These are usually competitive and law firms recognise that they aren’t easy to come across.
Although not as extensive as an insight week or vacation scheme, having an insight day under your belt also shows that you have an interest in becoming a lawyer.
Beyond this, insight days also help you to understand what lawyers actually do on a day-to-day basis. Being able to demonstrate that you understand the role of lawyer is an important, and often overlooked, part of writing a successful application.
Because of these factors, insight days can enhance your work experience section and you should be prepared to talk about them at an interview.
How to talk about your insight day
At face value, an insight day might not look as impressive as a three-week vacation scheme, but how you reflect upon your experience on that insight day can make all the difference.
Perhaps going to various insight days gave you a better idea about the area of law you’re most interested in. Did this influence your decision to apply to the firm in question? If so, this is something you could talk about in your application.
Think about the agenda of your insight day. What did you learn that is relevant to the role you’re applying for? Did you listen to a presentation about the issues affecting law firms and their clients, for example?
If you’re applying to the firm whose insight day you took part in, think about the people you met. You could even name them on your application form if you had a conversation that influenced your decision to apply. This will show that you have a genuine interest in working for that firm. They may even have remembered you and this might help your application.
Applying for insight days
Insight days are valuable additions to the bank of work experience you should be trying to accrue. Why waste time thinking about applying? Get your applications in now for 2022/2023 insight days.
You should first visit the website of the firms you’re interested in to check whether they offer an insight programme, and if so, what the application requirements are. Some insight days are designed specifically for first-year students, whilst others are aimed at second-year undergraduates and beyond.
No matter your situation, you’ll find countless opportunities available on an ongoing basis throughout the year.
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