What is a law firm open day?
A law firm open day is a fantastic opportunity to meet a law firm’s staff, learn about its culture and practice areas, and discover whether the firm is the right fit for you. In this article, we’ll look at the “what”, “why,” “where”, “when” and “how” of law firm open days.
What is a law firm open day?
A law firm open day is essentially an insight day (or half day) that gives you a first-hand feel for life in the firm.
The structure and content of the day will vary from firm to firm, but is likely to cover some – if not all – of the following activities:
- A presentation from the graduate recruitment team and/or graduate recruitment partner on the firm’s vacation scheme and/or training scheme application process.
- An overview of the firm’s practice areas, pro-bono work, and D&I initiatives.
- A Q&A or networking session with trainee solicitors.
- Skills-based workshops or group exercises.
- A tour of the firm’s offices.
Attending an open day will give you a deeper understanding of what it is like to work at a firm and help you to gauge whether it is the right firm for you.
Attendees are usually encouraged to apply for a vacation scheme and/or training contract at the firm so attending an open day could be the first step in your journey to securing a training contract.
But bear in mind that the open day application process and the vacation scheme/training contract application process are not one and the same. Open day attendees do not automatically get an offer of a vacation scheme or training contract!
Why should you attend a law firm open day?
There are lots of benefits of attending an open day. These include: An open day counts as legal work experience. This is great for anyone with little or no legal experience on their CV.
An open day demonstrates your interest in the firm and the firm’s interest in you. That’s because the open day application process is competitive so if the firm selects you to attend, they clearly see potential in you.
You will gain a much deeper understanding of what it is like to be a trainee at the firm and what makes the firm unique. This is great for answering the “why us?” question in your vacation scheme or training contract applications. You have the opportunity to ask questions to trainees, associates, partners and graduate recruitment. You can finally get the answers to those burning questions you cannot find on the firm’s website!
An open day is a great way to learn more about the legal industry and boost your commercial awareness. If you’ve never stepped foot inside a law firm before, attending an open day can give you a taste of what it is like to think like a lawyer.
Open days are a fantastic opportunity to network with people at all levels of the firm. Make sure to connect with anybody you speak with on LinkedIn after the event.
You can pick up useful tips on how to make your vacation scheme or training contract applications stand out from other applicants.
Opportunities with Bristows
Where do law firm open days take place?
In pre-Covid times, open days would generally take place in law firms’ offices. However, since the pandemic has hit, most firms now run virtual open days. This means no swanky office tours or free snacks. But on the bright side, open days are now more accessible to people who would not be able to attend a physical insight day.
Plus, attending a virtual open day can take the edge off. Whilst open days are not generally assessed, they can be long and intense. It is nice to be able to switch-off for five minutes whilst you make a cup of tea from the comfort of your own home.
However, a word of warning. While you may be attending an open day from home, treat it like you would an in-person open day. This means that all the same rules about professionalism apply. Dress as you would for the office (i.e. formal business attire), be polite and interested at all times, and make sure you log on from a quiet space where you won’t be interrupted.
As restrictions lift, some law firms are reverting to physical open days. The location of the firm’s open day should be indicated on its website. If you are worried about travel expenses, speak to the graduate recruitment team as many firms offer to reimburse attendees’ travel expenses.
When do law firm open days take place?
Open days take place throughout the year, with many firms running different insight days at different points throughout the year. You can check out our page on upcoming open days, so you don't miss out.
Alternatively, check out a firm’s website which should include details about its open days and other student-related events. Most firms also advertise their upcoming open days on social media so make sure to follow any firms you are interested in.
How do you apply for a law firm open day?
The application process for an open day varies from one firm to the next. Some firms require you to submit a CV via email while others require you to submit an application form (similar to a vacation scheme or training contract application).
Law Firm Open Days