In my last post I explained why research through personal interaction is so important.
Assuming you’re with me on that, I now want to give you some practical advice on how you can get this personal interaction.
The aim is to help you vastly improve your research, fast track your knowledge and improve your chances of success.
Where To Do This Research
There are many ways of getting access to those already in the legal profession. Here are some of the most common opportunities.
Face to Face Opportunities
- Law Fairs – opportunity to speak to trainees, lawyers and recruiters in one place. Each of them is brimming with the exact information you need.
- Open Days – held at law firms and other organisations such as the Government Legal Service. Similar to law fairs except you get more time to find out about the organisation and quiz its representatives.
- Law Firm Presentations – you will learn more about a firm and often receive invaluable tips on how to secure a training contract with that firm.
- Speaker Programmes – universities and organisations such as the Junior Lawyers Division have great speakers. For example, in-house lawyers talking about the work they do.
- Mentoring – many universities and law schools have mentoring schemes which pair you up with a mentor who is usually a practising lawyer. Alternatively, you could ask someone via your own networking.
- Networking – try finding events run by relevant law groups or associations which have student memberships. Attend local business networking events to connect with local solicitors. Look out for events run by your university and law school where lawyers and trainees will be present.
- Information Meetings – ask people if they could spare 20 minutes sometime for a coffee so you can ask them questions about their work and get advice on the recruitment process.
- Work Shadowing – ask if you could shadow a lawyer for a day. Whilst doing so you can ask your questions and perhaps build a mentoring relationship for the future.
- Tutors & Lecturers – many are ex-lawyers so can give you the benefit of their experience. They may also be able to introduce you to other lawyers in their network.
Whilst face to face is better as you are able to build more of a connection, I also recommend contacting people remotely.
- Email Graduate Recruitment – email firms about their recruitment process or aspects of their training. It’s a great way to make a simple connection and get some information at the same time.
- Social media – connect with firms and ask questions of the recruiters or trainees via their graduate Twitter accounts and Facebook Pages.
- Blog Commenting – keep an eye out for new blog posts by graduate recruiters, trainees or lawyers at specific firms. If the opportunity exists you can make a comment and ask a question within it.
- Online Forums – look out for people you would like to speak with on law forums and connect with them that way.
- LinkedIn Groups – similar to online forums. Find LinkedIn groups where lawyers, trainees and recruiters are posting. Make a connection by contributing to the conversation before asking a question or two.
Time For Action
Despite all these opportunities many candidates are not doing much of this.
I appreciate it can be challenging and takes many of you out of your comfort zone.
However, becoming a trainee solicitor will regularly take you out of your comfort zone so it’s good to get some practice now.
In my experience, those of you who utilise these opportunities will find your applications and interviews much easier to navigate.
Surely that’s a good enough reason to stretch yourself and take action!