Anybody who attends a law fair should know that networking is key. You know you’ve done a law fair right when you leave with contact details from a range of recruiters, partners, trainees and junior lawyers who work at firms that interest you.
The first step is to continue networking with them by adding them on LinkedIn. If you don’t have a LinkedIn account, get one! It’s pretty simple to set up, so there’s absolutely no excuse. From there, it’s just network, network and network.
First and foremost, connect with the people that you met at these law firms. After that, don’t hesitate to reach out to similar contacts who might be able to aid your career. Following on from making that connection, you should message your new connections—a simple greeting is sufficient, but feel free to ask any questions that you can’t find the answer to. Beyond this, try to ensure you keep contact—whether it is dropping a message, liking or sharing an article.
2. Continue with research
You know the drill by now: before the law fair, you do your research. During the law fair, you ask the questions that you couldn’t find answers to and make notes. After the law fair, the next step is to expand your research into the law firms that peaked your enthusiasm.
This means delving into what they do. Before, you may have scanned the areas of law they cover—now is the time to see what cases and clients they’ve worked with, within each area of law. You might know where they are based, but really analyse the culture and ethos of each office. You might be aware of the opportunities on offer, so expand on this by reading first-person accounts from trainees and vacation-scheme students. In other words, take your research to the next level.
3. Earmark opportunities
Law firms typically close vacation-scheme applications towards the end of January, and close training contracts around the end of July. However, many law firms are starting to move that date forward—this is probably due to the large volume of high-calibre applications they receive each year.
With this in mind, you should earmark the firms that you’d like to apply for and constantly check when applications are open—and when they close. Many firms offer places on a rolling basis, meaning that the earlier you apply, the better chance you have of landing your ideal role.
4. Email graduate recruiters
Following on from the first step, it might also be worth emailing graduate recruiters as a form of networking. It shows that you want to apply for the role and it’s a good opportunity to follow up from the fair with any questions you may have forgotten to ask about their application process.
5. Rule out the options that don’t suit you
You’ve listened, you’ve networked, you’ve researched, you’ve engaged and you’ve done everything you need to do. Now, the most important step is to rule out the options that don’t suit you. A graduate recruiter will source out the ones that don’t really want to work for them
From here, you should be more than ready to make those applications—hopefully, you will stand out from the crowd.