Law societies: what are they likely to offer?
Joining your university law society comes with a wealth of benefits, boosting everything from your CV to your social life. Here’s what you can expect from yours.
The chance to bond with your peers
As with any other university society, the law society will offer you the chance to socialise with your peers at a number of events throughout the year. These socials are a great chance to get to know other law students and bond over the shared joys (and hardships!) of studying a law degree.
Forming a core group of friends early on in your degree will help you through the late-night revision sessions, extensive reading lists and regular deadlines. Your friends will also offer a healthy distraction from academia. The law society will most likely host a few informal socials during freshers’ week. Some societies will also organise more extravagant events, such as the law ball, annual dinners and garden parties.
Publications and talks
Some law societies publish a law journal or magazine on a monthly, termly or annually basis. Reading your law society’s publication may further your understanding of the law in the context of pertinent issues in the world. You may even decide to write a few articles for the publication. Writing articles is an excellent chance to practise presenting an argument or point of view in a structured and coherent way—key skills for any aspiring lawyer!
The law society is also likely to host several talks and forums during the year. These will offer its members the chance to hear from professionals and academics about the legal profession, specific areas of law, or personal accounts of legal employees. The society will invite external speakers to address its members and answer any of your pressing questions. Attending these talks provides an invaluable first-hand insight into your future legal career.
Most law societies in the UK will organise plenty of opportunities to participate in moots.
A moot allows students to practice presenting an argument in mock court proceedings. In internal competitions, the “judge” is usually a Masters or Ph.D. student. However, if you find yourself really thriving in moots, you may wish to enter external competitions.
The law society will look to host a variety of workshops over the course of the year to help maximise your CV and facilitate your vacation-scheme, pupillage and training-contract applications. These workshops will aim at increasing your employability. Previous examples of workshops include LinkedIn optimisation, how to tailor your CV to a legal career and how to write standout cover letters.
Pro bono work
The phrase “pro bono” derives from Latin, describing any form of work that is voluntary, gratuitous and aimed at fostering the common good. Generally, pro bono work is aimed at individuals who cannot afford the legal advice they need.
Your law society should provide you with a list of opportunities available to law students and non-law students alike. Pro bono work will teach you to remain professional yet invested in your client's legal problem and build up your confidence legislating in a specific area of law. Voluntary work will also look very impressive on your CV and help recruiters to notice you.
Networking opportunities (sponsored events, insight days)
Your law society will provide plenty of networking opportunities to give you a head start in your future job application process. These networking opportunities could either be informal or formal. Informal networking events generally occur when law firms sponsor society events; they might send a few firm representatives to the event, such as their trainees. This is the perfect chance to ask all your questions about securing a training contract or mini-pupillage in a relaxed environment. A formal networking event may be a law fair, at which law firms from across the country are invited to set up a stall and talk to students about their respective firms and their available career opportunities.
Personal guidance and advice
Finally, the law society will be able to offer you guidance and advice. You should always feel welcome to ask your law society about any of your worries or questions, whether that be related to securing a training contract or whether you are struggling to keep up with the workload. Your law society will be able to take the time to mentor you and help you achieve your goals and ambitions. Sharing your concerns with the society may also lead to more general reforms and improvements at the administrative level.
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