Article written by Katie Burton, University of Hull Graduate and The University of Law LPC Student.
Work experience is always valued after university when looking for a job but it can be rather difficult to secure a placement. These placements aren’t typically advertised on job sites or easy to find. However, these are my best tips to getting work experience in the legal field.
Sending out emails directly to the company you are looking for the experience with is key as it will not always be advertised. Within this I believe it best to include a full range of dates you can do (1 or 2 weeks), why you want to have experience within their specific company and the current situation you are in (LLB law student/graduate etc.) Make it personal! It’s important to show interest in the specifics about their company and the work they are doing so the company does not think that it’s a generic template email. Include a little bit about yourself and what you are looking to gain from the experience. Whoever reads the email may relate to your personal situation and be interested in giving you the opportunity (this is not to say include a life story but rather interesting points about your legal/university career they may deem interesting.)
It’s easier to network than ever before. LinkedIn is the key networking platform. So many people in the legal profession would be happy to receive a message to help you generate some experience as they were once in the same position. If they themselves cannot provide the experience they may know someone who can and point you in their direction. Additionally ensure that your LinkedIn profile reads to who you are, make it interesting and captivating as some may reach out to you. Furthermore, when using LinkedIn find ways to connect with as many people as possible. Many will post about opportunities on their own pages.
It’s useful to see what extra activities the university has going on as normally this is the beginning of your networking journey. Typically, the university will have a website that they advertise opportunities on. Working alongside your careers adviser can help ensure your CV/cover letter is suitable for work experience opportunities. Additionally attend guest speakers’ lectures and get involved! This can sometimes be nerve wracking but putting yourself out there is never easy. Many will admire your bravery.
Looking for work experience in the area your degree is in is not always possible so expand your search! For example, getting experience in HR/finance/admin work is applicable to the legal world as it highlights skillsets which employers are looking for. When gaining work experience it shows your dedication to work and represents innovative, independent thinking which is of high value.