How to Become a Lawyer: 3 Pledges for Career Success
Published: 01/11/17 Author: Isabella Ford, Lead Content Editor
The process of becoming a lawyer certainly seems long-winded at times. When your uni friends are swanning off into their respective jobs while you send off your seventh work experience application, it can make the whole lawyer-aspiration-thing feel pretty worthless. As far as journeys go, the smooth sailing (albeit, with a storm or two) of other careers doesn’t compare to the London tube journey, the desperate clawing to get on during rush hour, that is the law career process.
You want to know not only how to become a lawyer, but how to become a lawyer with the least amount of pain possible. Sometimes you need a little extra push of motivation, of guidance, which is why I’ve collected three top pieces of advice for you to follow. Light a candle and repeat them daily for twenty minutes whilst sitting cross-legged, listening to whale noises and visualising yourself at the head of your own law firm. Or, I don’t know, just write them down on a post-it note and stick them to your computer as some extra inspiration.
How to Become a Lawyer Pledge 1:
I pledge to keep up-to-date with all legal happenings in the news
What do you mean you haven’t got The Guardian Law section bookmarked?! Top law firms and chambers love to see an awareness of the world with regards to law, as it exhibits both passion and interest in your future career. A huge tip would be to keep an eye out for our weekly-turned-monthly News Summary, where we report on the law news from the previous month – it saves you the hassle of flitting around the internet for an hour when you can find three news stories in a concise article. Aren’t we the greatest?
How to Become a Lawyer Pledge 2:
I pledge to research each law firm or chambers I apply to thoroughly
A massive selling point in a vacation scheme/training contract/mini-pupillage/pupillage interview is an awareness of the organisation you’re applying to. At the end of the day, some round-robin script you whipped up a month ago for another interview isn’t going to cut it.
For each interview or application, spend a good day’s worth of work researching the brand – what areas of law do they specialise in? Who are their clients? What services do they offer? What is their USP (Unique Selling Point)? An active interest isn’t overly keen or sucking up – it’s being the candidate they want for the placement.
A good place to start is having a look at some of our case studies with various law firms, including Freshfields and Herbert Smith Freehills. You can find some of them on our Law Firm Content page.
How to Become a Lawyer Pledge 3:
I pledge to undertake as much work experience as possible
We have a whole section on law work experience for you to sink your teeth into – from pro bono schemes to law firm open days to mini-pupillage and vacation scheme advice, we want to help. But the only way to get work experience is to keep applying. No matter how many ignored emails or rejected applications you come across along the way, just readdress your CV and reapply elsewhere. There are hundreds, if not thousands, of opportunities open to you, and even just a couple of days spent sitting in on a court case is absolutely better than nothing.
A small organisational tip you may or may not be doing already is to write all the places you’ve applied to in a spreadsheet, with any application closing dates, the date you applied and the progress of your application. If you’re unsure about deadlines, take a look at our deadline calendars. Colour code them depending on how far you’ve gotten – red for rejections, orange for waiting, green for successful. This will help you keep a track of what you’ve applied to and where you appear to be falling down; are there too many reds around the interview stage or the CV stage? If you’re really keen, arrange them in order of closing date, or even value – the ones you want the most, stick at the top. This might help your prioritise your many applications along the way.
There you are – three simple tips to securing a career in law. Becoming a lawyer isn’t too hard when you’ve got the right guide to help you. The Lawyer Portal is happy to help.