Kick Starting your Legal Career in First Year
Don’t let your year level discourage you from getting involved in the legal industry early. There are plenty of ways to wade into the ocean that is your degree – you’ve just got to dip your toe in! Here are my three top tips for how to get involved early…
1. Attend networking events
Many law schools and law societies will host networking events throughout the year, and these events are the perfect opportunity to introduce yourself to legal professionals and get your name out there. Networking events are also an excellent opportunity to pick people’s brains and get a better understanding of the fields of law that you might be interested in, which could come in handy down the track when you’re choosing your electives. If you’re nervous about working the room, don’t be! Take a few friends and make a night of it.
While many law firms will probably select more experienced candidates for work experience, there are other avenues you could pursue, such as volunteering at legal centres. Even if it is just getting coffee, running errands and photocopying, you will be immersing yourself in a bustling legal environment and gaining experience without even realising it! Furthermore, being an eager legal eagle (try saying that five times fast…) will earn you some brownie points with your supervisors!
So I’ll admit it, the chances of actually being offered work experience in the early years of your law degree aren’t overly great, but applying never hurt anybody! At the very least, familiarising yourself with the application process early on will help you to refine your CV and cover letter writing skills, and who knows? The employer could really like the look of you, or see benefits in hiring someone who is young and fresh. I missed out on the first work experience position I applied for because I was still in the early stages of my degree, but the employer decided to put me on in a different position. The moral of the story? APPLY. APPLY. APPLY.
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