The second year of university is just as vital for non-law students who are considering a law career as it is for those who are already enrolled on a law degree.
Do I need to start thinking about my career in my second year?
It's never too early to start thinking about your future law career. There are a number of things you can do right now to start preparing for a training contract even if your degree discipline isn’t law related. Open days and vacation schemes are certainly something to start researching as this stage, as the very early stages of your final year of your non-law degree will be the time for you to spring into action and get applying for these opportunities. A vacation scheme is often the golden key to the all-important training contract further down the line, and if you can bag one of those before your graduation you’ll be fixed for funding for your mandatory GDL and LPC courses too.
Whereas law students can begin to apply for and attend open days, workshops and vacation schemes in their second year, the majority of firms usually prefer to get non-law potentials through the door in their final year. This makes your second year the perfect opportunity to start thoroughly researching law firms and to get a feel for the ones you think could be a good fit for you.
Watch out for sneaky vacation scheme deadlines…
The time to apply for vacation schemes will come around a lot quicker than you might think, so the earlier you start to look into things, the better!
Pounce on the winter vacation scheme opportunities and winter workshop days which take place in the December of your final year. Most have deadlines for applications at the end of October or early November, so if you’re ready to fire off a well thought-out, tailored application after some solid second research early on, then you could be in there!
Other bits to do…
Particularly as a non-law student, the more you can do to demonstrate engagement with the legal sector ahead of applications for training contracts, the stronger your profile and applications will be. Open days, workshops and vacation schemes can all be put down as legal work experience.
Use your second year to pick up other bits of legal experience, paid or voluntary, which demonstrate your eagerness to get involved with law. You could work for the Citizen’s Advice Bureau, get involved in police schemes and enquire at your university law society and careers service to see if there are any pro bono initiatives you could get involved with. The more proactive you are, the better the chance you’ll stand out a little further down the line.