Sep 20, 2019

Written By Tuula Petersen

Law societies: why you should join

Sep 20, 2019

Written By Tuula Petersen

Law is an extremely rewarding yet challenging degreeā€”so much so, it can quickly become overwhelming and time-consuming. Joining your law society can offer the perfect counterbalance to a mountain of academic deadlines and work, while enabling you to enjoy the full experience of studying law. Before you decide to pay membership for any old society at your university, take a read of the following article to discover why exactly the law society is most likely to benefit you during and after your studies.

Meeting people

One of the best ways to get the most out of your law-society membership is by forming and maintaining relationships with other members. Start by visiting the societies fair at the start of the academic year. Rather than buying your membership online, it’s beneficial to meet a few members of the committee during the societies fair and to have a small chat with them. As a result, you’ll be able to recognise a few familiar faces at the following social event—but don’t be scared to approach strangers! It’s reassuring to remember that they’re all in the same situation as you, looking to make valuable connections for the years to come. It will help to improve your confidence and communication skills, which are essential for any aspiring lawyer.

Law societies aren’t solely geared towards academic and future career prospects. Joining the society is, first and foremost, an excellent opportunity to meet new people with similar interests and aspirations to you. The society is likely to organise plenty of events over the course of the year, many of which will be in a relaxed environment allowing you to socialise with your peers.

Law-society events also tend to be sponsored by various firms. More often than not, this means representatives of the law firm will be attending the event, giving you the chance to talk to trainees about their experiences and to ask for any tips and recommendations, in an informal setting.

Finding out more about law

As a member of a law society, your newsfeed will most likely be overloaded with social events that seem to be happening every other day! However, among the posts dedicated to all the socials, it’s worth paying attention to legal news and updates. It is through your law society that you may learn more about all the different areas of law, or the latest mergers and trends in the legal sphere.

The society will also organise speaker events and workshops throughout the year. The speaker events can take the form of a panel discussion, a talk or an interview in which representatives from law firms or people from other legal backgrounds are invited to talk to members of the society about their experiences and career. Generally, these sessions will be followed by Q&A sessions, so you can ask all your pressing questions.

Gaining transferable skills

Many events organised by the law society revolve around harnessing and developing skills useful for a legal career. Here are a few you can expect to encounter over the course of a year:

Mooting: this aims to simulate a courtroom environment. Mooting calls upon the skills of public speaking, legal research and presentation. For further information about mooting, head here. 

Debating: fostering the ability to represent both sides of a case in a fluent, coherent and persuasive manner. Debating will allow you to improve your public speaking and presentation skills, essential for any student considering becoming a solicitor, barrister or otherwise.

Negotiations: generally, this will require you to work in a team of two, in which you will negotiate your way through employment contracts, business mergers or other related documents to distinguish the best solution for your assigned “client”.

Client interviewing: involves working with a partner to interview a client with a fictitious legal problem. Together, you will aim to offer them suitable legal advice by asking the correct questions. This activity most notably helps to develop interpersonal skills.

If you really enjoy these extracurricular activities, you can explore them further by entering competitions organised externally. Your law society will help to formulate teams representing your university.

Making yourself employable

In addition to organising competitions, the law society will help any law student secure pro bono work. This allows lawyers and law students to volunteer their time for people who need legal assistance but are not necessarily in the position to get support. Pro bono work is a great way to show recruiters your expertise in an area of law you wish to pursue while helping people that need it.

By joining a society, you’re automatically letting employers know you have an active and engaged lifestyle as a student. Employers are keen to discover the personality and interests of the applicants, and a law society membership is a great way to demonstrate to recruiters your passion and commitment to law, as well as your ability to manage a hefty workload with extra-curricular activities.

Next article: Law society dos and don'ts

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Law Societies