If you have been thinking about attending an open day at a law firm of your choice, then now is the time to apply. Law firm open days provide a great insight into how the firm operates and how trainees at the firm view their time working in a particular sector. These open days generally run throughout the year and can be attended by both law and non-law students.
What is an open day?
An open day or ‘insight day’ is the law firm displaying their company to you and the day will normally start with a networking lunch, followed by office tours, presentations and informal talks. However just because the firm encourage you to apply for a training contract or vacation scheme, it does not mean you're automatically entitled to one. Therefore, here are some top networking tips to ensure you leave a memorable impression.
Use the networking lunch as an opportunity
Over lunch or coffee, ask a trainee what life is really like at the firm. You won’t get this kind of honesty from anyone else and it is one of the benefits of attending an open day. It can also help with your training contract or vacation scheme application form.
Know who you are talking to
Having attended law firm open days, seeing somebody with a blank expression on their face as a partner of the firm approaches them leaves a grimace. Do some research on the team and then you can shake hands and use first name terms. This is impressive and will get you remembered for all the right reasons.
Know when to leave
It is great that you are an enthusiastic law student with burning questions, but it is easy to overstay your welcome. Once the open event is finished, leave promptly.
Stick to tea & coffee
There are rumours that some law firms offer alcoholic drinks at their open day networking lunch. Obviously, there are plenty of horror stories where students have had slightly too much tipple and ruined their chances with a firm because they said or did something they regretted. If you're nervous, drink water!
Don't go to an open day with the mindset of “What can I get out of this?” Rather, ask yourself “What can I offer?” Confidence and nerves can be an issue for students attending an open day, but remember, the firm picked you from many applicant; show them they made the right choice.
Bring a CV
During a networking lunch you may meet an associate or graduate recruiter who you would like to hand a CV to. Be prepared by taking a few copies. A notebook and pen is also handy in case you need to jot down contact details.
The most important thing to remember is enjoy the experience. It looks great on your CV and it may even lead to greater opportunities in the near future.