Law fairs are the perfect place for students to network, take a look at postgraduate opportunities and meet both large and small firms, as well as barristers’ chambers.
When should I start thinking about law fairs?
I would recommend going to these fairs from your first year at university. Although you may not be able to take advantage of all of the opportunities offered at this stage, you may manage to secure something like summer work experience, and it’s good practice for when you reach the time to apply for training contracts, the LPC, the BPTC or pupillage applications. By then you’ll have mastered the art of the law fair!
So here are five ways to ensure you make a good impression:
1. Preparation for the law fair
Preparation is vital. You’ll often be given a floor map a few days beforehand, or just a list of the firms who will be attending. You will never be able to walk around and speak in depth with everyone on the day, so do some research on a few firms you really like the look of. Learn some of the basics about the firm and have a few questions prepared.
2.What to wear
Now, there are lots of debates on what to wear to a law fair. It’s not an interview as such, and so technically being suited and booted is not essential. However, you are ultimately aiming to sell yourself and you never know what kind of opportunities may arise from conversations, so wearing something too casual may mean you miss out. It is up to you to whether to dress smart or smart casual, but this is definitely something to bear in mind.
Despite fairs lasting for quite a while, it is always worth getting there a bit early to see where the stands you want to visit are situated. On the other hand, as the day progresses stands will get less busy and you may have a better opportunity to talk to people as the day goes on.
4. Don’t just pick up the freebies and leaflets
If you do this, you will only be finding out the same information regarding work experience, graduate schemes and law careers as anyone else with access to their website. Talk to the firm representatives, discuss how they got to be where they are in the company now, and finally about any work experience. Striking up a conversation could result in them offering you a couple of days of shadowing them.
Try not to ask questions that are too silly, or come across as too arrogant. Likewise, coming across too shy will not be of much use either. You want to create a good impression. My best tip for shyness is to leave it at the door. Remember, this is about your career – don’t let it hinder your potential!.
5. Take a notebook
It’s good to have one on hand to jot down the name or contact details of someone you have spoken to I’d recommend sending them an email thanking them for their time at the law fair too. Pretty much everyone seems to be on LinkedIn and Twitter these days too; you can always ask if they would be happy for you to contact them via these means
If you were to be offered a vacation scheme, for example, at a later date after the fair, then you could do a bit of networking and contact the person you spoke with to let them know.
Finally, don’t forget to say that you spoke with the firm at the fair and this prompted you to research the firm further when making applications for work experience etc. It all helps to build up an application that is tailored for that firm.