Charlotte Killen is a recent LLM & LLB Graduate and Future Trainee Solicitor at Magic Circle firm, Allen & Overy, London.
As a student, it can be difficult to gain formal legal work experience, whether that be a vacation scheme or paralegal position. Additionally, you might find it difficult to balance part-time legal work alongside your studies and other commitments.
However, there are alternative, flexible opportunities that you can get involved in to learn more about the legal industry, boost your CV and ultimately help you secure your ideal graduate role.
Below, I discuss three different types of legal opportunities that have helped me develop my communication skills, increase my knowledge of different areas of law and give me an understanding of what the role of a solicitor entails.
Enjoy networking and using your creativity? Perhaps becoming a Brand Ambassador is for you!
Many of the larger City law firms often advertise paid ‘Brand Ambassador’ roles to university students, typically those in their penultimate year. Campus ambassadors represent the firm and are tasked with advertising the company on their campus.
This involves using university networks and undertaking various activities, ranging from social media posts and society events to creating innovative ways to distribute branded merchandise. As ambassadors are often required to organise social events (including drop-ins and helping with careers fairs), these roles are perfect for enthusiastic students who enjoy networking and want to work flexibly whilst building their CV and knowledge of the legal industry.
During my second year of university, I secured a Brand Ambassador position with a City law firm and enjoyed working alongside graduate recruiters, the Law School, and aspiring lawyers. The skills I developed through attending careers fairs and skills sessions – including collaboration, innovation, and the ability to network – were invaluable when applying for vacation schemes.
To learn more and apply, see https://www.oncampuspromotions.co.uk/brand-ambassadors
Gain legal experience
Want to gain legal experience but can’t commit to a permanent 9-5? Consider Flex Legal – Flex Legal is a platform that connects clients to paralegals for flexible, on-demand service. If you are a student who cannot commit to a permanent paralegal role, consider the benefits of signing up to work through Flex Legal.
In Flex’s own words, ‘Flex benefits include:
• Get paid work experience in legal settings
• Try out different types of legal teams
• Raise your profile in the industry
• No need to do hundreds of applications – Flex finds the placements for you
• Possibility of permanent job offers with clients.’
Once your application is assessed for experience, skills, and education, if successful, you will be asked to attend a video interview and create an online profile. If your profile and availability match a legal opportunity, you will be notified (via text and email).
I have secured opportunities through Flex; most recently, a week-long paralegal role providing legal support to a Barrister during an Employment Tribunal. This was a great opportunity to earn extra money alongside my studies, increase my professional networks and develop my understanding of employment law.
Experiencing different areas of law through one platform will be particularly useful if you are keen to learn new things and are still deciding which area of law is right for you. To find out more and apply, see https://flex.legal/apply
Struggling to secure a Vacation Scheme but want to learn more about the role of a lawyer? Try Forage Virtual Internships.
We all know that whilst internships can be one of the best ways to learn more about any company and the work they do, most involve an intense and competitive application process. To tackle this, Forage offers virtual work experience programs which replicate work at top companies (including many law firms) and help aspiring lawyers gain the skills and knowledge to be successful when making applications to those firms.
Although pre-recorded virtual programs are not a perfect substitution for a more formal vacation scheme (for example, you are less likely to gain a real sense of the firm’s culture), these 5-6 hour-long workshops allow participants to gain the tools necessary to complete a typical work-day at that company and learn what the role of a lawyer at that firm entails.
As Forage programs are free, can be completed in your own time, and do not require any experience, they are accessible to all. Before I began applying for vacation schemes, I was uncertain as to what the role of a ‘commercial lawyer’ entailed, as well as the types of documents that a lawyer in a specific practice area would encounter daily.
Completing Forage modules such as commercial transactions, time management, and client pitching, really helped me develop a basic understanding of the day-to-day tasks of a lawyer.
To begin your first online internship and start boosting your CV, see https://www.theforage.com/
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