How do first year law students get work experience?
Many first year students interested in becoming lawyers might be unsure how to find work experience right now. The majority of law firms target work experience opportunities to second year students, but there are still things you can do to make your training contract application stand out.
Working in the legal sector
Although most law work experience tends to take place in second year, a few law firms offer internships to first year students.
For instance, Allen & Overy provide an internship giving first years a chance to get to know the firm, boost their commercial awareness skills and gain invaluable career advice. Doing this scheme also means you are more likely to secure a vacation scheme or a training contract in the future.
If you don’t manage to secure a place on one of these internships, there are still a few ways you can get some legal experience. Firstly, if there are any lawyers in the family or family friends who are lawyers, you could shadow them. Why not get in touch with your local high street firm and ask if you can shadow someone or help with administrative tasks? Even if this experience isn’t in your favourite sector or dream law firm, it’s still an opportunity for you to ask questions and learn more about life as a lawyer.
Another way to show your passion for law is by volunteering. Many charities are looking for law students to provide legal services for those who cannot afford to pay. For example, the Child Law Advice Service allows volunteers to provide advice to families about education, childhood, and family law, which is a valuable opportunity for you to develop your law skills.
Furthermore, many universities have pro-bono societies where students volunteer legal advice to those in need. A few law firms now require their trainees to do some pro-bono work during their contract, so getting some done already will make you stand out.
If you can’t find law experience
If you are struggling to find law-specific work experience, don’t panic! The main thing is that you complete some work experience so you can gain some transferable skills. It doesn’t matter what you do so long as it’s valuable. For instance, you could talk about how tutoring shows you are patient and good at communicating, or how your summer fast food job shows you can stay calm under pressure.
While it’s difficult to find vacation schemes open to first years, there are still many things you can do to learn more about law and ensure future training contract applications stand out.
First Year Opportunities