Law society dos and don'ts
Your university’s law society can help you get the grades you need, apply for training contracts or pupillages, and enhance your university experience as a whole. With that in mind, here are some of the things you should and should not do to make the most of your time in the law society.
Don’t sign up and then never attend events
Once you’ve joined the law society—hopefully in your first few weeks at university—you should try to become a proactive member. There’s so much your law society can offer you, from social events to work experience. If you don’t take advantage of these, you’ve paid the membership fee for nothing!
Do attend as many law society events as you can
A law degree can be exhausting, but you should try to make time to attend as many law society events as you can.
Law societies organise high-quality events all year round. Often, these events will be geared towards making you more employable. You’ll likely have the opportunity to attend discussions with trainees and partners, networking events, CV clinics, interview advice talks and exam help sessions—all of which can be extremely useful going forward.
However, your law society won’t just organise careers events. If you’re a fresher, you will be able to attend several icebreakers to meet your peers and make new friends. Law societies also organise socials throughout the year, so don’t forget to take advantage of the fun side of your society! That being said…
Don’t just attend social events
As tempting as it can be to use the law soc to unwind after hours of studying, make sure you strike a balance with the events you choose to attend. As much as you can try to pass off socials as networking opportunities, the reality is you won’t be making the most of your time if you don’t attend a few careers events as well. Careers events are not generally very long, but they can significantly increase your chances of getting a training contract or pupillage.
Do take part in law-society schemes
Beyond socials and careers events, most law societies have extracurriculars that run throughout the year and that will help you develop the skills needed to be a good lawyer. Mooting, participating in commercial negotiations and volunteering for pro bono work can all provide you with the kind of experience you’ll need later on in your career. You could even write for your law society’s publication to improve your written communication skills.
As important as it is that you get good grades, these experiences will help develop skills—such as public speaking or negotiation—that are highly valued by employers.
Don’t avoid daunting activities
Many of the extracurriculars offered by the law society can be quite intimidating. If you’re scared of public speaking, for instance, you’ll probably be tempted to avoid mooting. If you’re not particularly confident in your writing skills, you might be thinking of avoiding the society publications.
This is the opposite of what you should be doing. If an activity scares you, that’s a good reason to try it out at university: your law society will offer you a safe environment where you can develop your skills—show initiative and don’t be afraid to try new things!
Do run for committee positions
Finally, once you’ve shown that you’re an involved member of the law society, you should consider running for a committee position. Being on the committee of a society will teach you crucial skills that employers are on the lookout for, including organisation, communication and leadership. You’ll also have the opportunity to change things for the better. So if you’re genuinely passionate about the law society and what it can offer, why not become one of its leading members?
Next article: Law societies: what are they likely to offer?