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There are many plus points when it comes to doing any form of work placement or internship while you’re still at university, but work experience in the legal sector stands head, shoulders and wig above many other industries.
For just a few weeks of your time, you get to improve your CV, brush up on your legal skills and, best of all; you can see first-hand what life is truly like at your favourite law firm before committing to the full training contract experience. Most firms now treat them as an integral part of the recruitment process for securing training contracts
When you’re on a legal work placement this summer, while every scheme and law firm is different and will have varying ways of ensuring you’re the right fit for them, there are certain things you can do that will ensure you make the right impression.
Before you start your placement: Do your research. A little knowledge goes a long way. If you’ve read up on the firm and have some intelligent questions ready you’ll be able to show you’re genuinely interested in its work. It’ll also help you connect with your new colleagues. Not just on the firm you’re joining but on the type of job you’re going into in general.
During your work experience: Look the part. If there’s one sector where you’ll be expected to look smart, this is it. Use your vacation placement to build contacts as well as legal knowledge – after all, managing relationships is key to a legal job, so show you’ve got those interpersonal skills. Show that you’re committed, organised and willing to help colleagues with their workloads; it will make you stand out and show you are enthusiastic and engaged. Keep a record of your work experience gained as with so much packed into a short vacation placement it can be difficult to remember everything. So, if you decide to apply for a training contract with the firm you’ll have some ready information for your application form and interview.
Post-work experience: Analyse & reflect – Take some time to reflect on your scheme. Did you enjoy it? If so, why did you enjoy it? Was it what you expected? It is really worthwhile asking yourself these questions as you need to be absolutely certain if you later accept a training contract with that the firm that your decision is informed. Keep in touch, if you enjoyed your time at the firm; drop them an email saying so. Everyone loves flattery and sometimes it can get you everywhere!