Law fairs can be a daunting affair for many aspiring lawyers—this is undeniable. As a careers advice site, we have attended some of these law fairs ourselves, and have witnessed undergraduate students come under-prepared or lacking in confidence.
But fear not. There are quite a few things that you can do to boost your confidence and make sure you’re one of the students who stands out for the right reasons.
First, it is worth noting that not all law fairs are the same. Some have presentations, some do not. Some have career workshops, some do not. Some have a huge range of employers and some do not. So bear this in mind and treat it as a rough template on what you should do before, during and after the law fairs you attend.
Before the law fair
There are a few things that you should do before you arrive at the law fair. First and foremost, see which employers are attending, and remember to see what other things are happening as well. This will dictate what research you do prior to attending the event. Think about which employers you really want to speak to and which areas you might like to improve on—there are likely to be presentations or careers workshops that can address any worries you might have.
Before you leave the house, you should also grab a pen and paper (don’t just assume that there will be free stationery) and make sure you look presentable. Law firms won’t be looking for you to suit up, but you are speaking to recruiters, partners and junior lawyers—a smart outfit will put you in a professional mindset!
During the law fair
Once you get there, you should already have an idea of which law firms you want to speak to. This is a key opportunity for you to network with as many different people as you can from your chosen law firms.
Use this as an opportunity to gain insight into their application process, what sort of things they are looking for in a candidate, what sort of training and development they offer and more. It’s a good idea to speak to trainees and junior lawyers about their current experiences, too. The one vital thing that you must not do is ask questions that are already in their online literature or brochures. This shows a lack of research.
After you speak to each law firm, it is important to make notes. Go somewhere quiet and write down what you’ve learned from your conversations. It will help you narrow down the firms that interest you more, and the ones you can put on the back burner for now.
If the fair has presentations, it might be worth attending—especially if they have people from the legal profession conducting the talks. Speakers might be offering practical application tips, or advice on how to build experience in the legal sector. Think about the skills you need to brush up on, and see if there are any corresponding talks.
Lastly, consider going along to a careers workshop, if there’s one available at the fair you are attending. Your university careers advisers have years of experience in dealing with CVs for the legal profession and understand the hard task that lies ahead of you.
After the law fair
After the fair is done, go back through your notes and see which firms suit or interest you. After that, continue to network and develop relationships with these firms in order to boost your chances of getting that training contract or vacation scheme. You can develop these relationships by adding people on LinkedIn, emailing the people that you met and attending events by the firms you spoke to and are interested in. Events will be publicised on LinkedIn and on the firm’s social media.
Next article: How to network at law fairs