Legal work experience for non-law students

  • Last updated Jul 23, 2019 10:36:29 AM
  • By Billy Sexton, Editor,

Starting university is a whirlwind enough without having to think about your career. The day you start your law graduate job is further away than Jupiter (you might have to double check that one for us), so what’s the point in thinking about getting some legal work experience now? After all, you still have to do the law conversion course and legal practice course after you’ve finished the degree you’ve only just started!

Ah, but this is entirely the reason why you should get your gears oiled sooner rather than later. If all wannabe solicitors (and trust us, there are a fair few) had the attitude that they could ‘just put it off’, only a tiny number of students would succeed. It’s all about getting ahead of the competition in this game, and just because you don’t study law doesn’t mean you can’t be on the hunt for work experience.

Where do I find legal work experience?

Once you’ve increased your commercial awareness by flicking (read: thoroughly reading) a copy of the Financial Times, it’s time to see what work experience opportunities are out there for the non-law student.

Law firm open days and the like are useful when it comes to finding more about a career in the City and getting your name out there to the top firms, but you’ll do little to no work at events like these.

Legal work experience doesn’t have to be found outside of the four university walls. Joining the law society is an absolute must, and they’ll hold regular mooting events. Mooting mimics a court room, with two sides often debating an issue. Mooting allows you to think about the practical application of the law and also tests your skills in researching in-depth and advocating a specific argument.

You can also get legal work experience at university by seeing if your law department takes part in any pro bono work. This can be something such as an Innocence Project, which examines past cases and helps clear the name of those wrongly convicted. A group of students at Cardiff University recently overturned a murder conviction… imagine having that on the CV!

Additionally, you could apply to smaller, high street firms to see if they need an extra hand over the summer, or you could shadow a barrister or a judge for a couple of days. The most important thing surrounding legal work experience is to make sure to ask questions, work hard and remember to make a note of your responsibilities and what you learned. This means that when you apply for vacation schemes, you can impress the recruiter with the skills you’ve picked up before.

Is my non-law degree a disadvantage?

“But I’m a non-law student, they’ll only take law students for work experience!” Well, that’s a lie. Non-law students are in demand due to their transferable skills. If you do a language degree, then voila! You’re set to be a massive help to a firm who may be working on a cross border issue. If you’re studying business or finance, you’ll be able to pick up the ins and outs of a business pretty quickly – this is absolutely key for the 21st century lawyer.

Legal work experience is out there, you just have to find it! Use your university careers centre, who will most certainly have links with local firms, as well as using Google and LinkedIn! 

More like this

  • Final year: committing to lawBy Anna Vall Navés

    As a non-law undergraduate, it can be difficult to know exactly what steps to take to qualify as a solicitor or a barrister—if you’re in your final year, there are so many applications and dates to remember! Here, we try to simplify the process as much as possible for you.

  • Is law for me?Tuula Petersen

    You may have graduated with a Bachelor’s degree with the aim to pursue a Graduate Law Degree (GDL), or maybe you’ve already ventured down one career path but are now considering law. Either way, you’re probably asking the question: “Is law for me?” Here are some of the main factors you’ll need to weigh up.

  • What law firms expect from non-law studentsBy Jack J Collins, Editor,

  • Preparing for law schoolBilly Sexton

    Your undergraduate years may be coming to an end, but you have another two years studying at law school for the law conversion course (or Graduate Diploma in Law) and the Legal Practice Course (LPC).

  • Training contract applications – non-law studentsBilly Sexton

    In order to pursue your passion in law and qualify as a solicitor, you will have to secure a training contract. As a non-law student, it is important to learn how to put your various skills on show and stand out among the fierce competition. Read on to discover various tips and advice to make your training contract application attractive.