Law fairs are an excellent opportunity for you to meet recruiters and trainees and to ask the questions that the websites and brochures don’t answer, so that you are more informed about firms before making your training contract applications. They are also your chance to show a firm what you have got to offer.
You can now hopefully see a number of benefits to attending your university’s law fair. What can you do to ensure you are viewed in a positive light by the law firms that are attending?
Preparation & research
Preparation is important. It is highly unlikely that you will be able to speak to all law firms that are attending the event, so find out which firms are attending and, through some basic research about each of the firms, decide which ones you would like to talk to.
This way you are making the event more productive for yourself. Once you have decided which firms you would like to talk to, you should do some research to make sure you have a good understanding of the firms.
Plan some questions
Think about the questions that you want to ask in advance. There is nothing worse than a student approaching the stand and asking a question, the answer to which could have easily been obtained by looking on the firm’s website, e.g. “Are you a law firm?” “Where are your offices?”
You don’t have to come with a long list of questions; it’s completely acceptable to only ask the questions you genuinely want the answers to. Do not ask questions for the sake of asking them. Other questions that are off putting are: “Tell me a bit more about your firm?” or “Why should I apply to you?”
It’s also worth thinking about addressing the question to the correct person. Stands are generally staffed by members of the firm’s graduate recruitment team, trainee solicitors and partners. Questions about the recruitment process or qualities that a firm is looking for in a trainee should be directed to a member of the graduate recruitment team and questions about a typical day to a trainee etc.
Dressing to impress…
Think about what to wear. You are not expected to wear a suit, as recruiters we appreciate you are at university, but you do not want to be remembered for the wrong reasons, looking smart will help to create a good first impression.
It’s up to you to attend the law fair. Obtaining a training contract is hard work, sending a friend or relative along to ask the questions or to collect the brochures for you creates the wrong impression.
At the law fair…
Speak to the firm representatives, don’t just grab the freebies and run. Representatives expect to be asked questions and are happy to provide guidance. You are welcome to help yourself to the brochures or any freebies that the firm has with them. Do not fall into the trap of assessing firms purely on the basis of the quality of freebies handed out.
Law fairs can be a bit daunting, but remember they are a two way process. Law firms are there to sell themselves to you, just as much as you are there to sell yourself to them. Above all, just be yourself at the fair.