Gaining work experience is essential to starting a career in any sector – and this is especially important for pursuing a career in law. It is equally important, however, to make the most of any legal work experience opportunity. In this post, I’ll reflect on my various experiences of working in legal environments and give you my top five tips for making the most of these opportunities.
First of all, it’s important to ooze enthusiasm. I’ve found that if you come across as a keen bean you are far more likely to be given interesting work outside of completing mundane administrative tasks, and this will enable you to get more out of your legal work experience. It also never hurts to ask if you can get involved in any other work or tasks. You never know unless you ask!
Build relationships with your co-workers
You should try to build solid working relationships during your legal work experience. Building such relationships will enable you to get good references when applying for graduate legal jobs and, in my experience, it has helped me to gain further opportunities in the future.
Keep a work experience diary
Write a diary or blog about your legal work experience. This will help you to remember what you worked on while you were there, and will help a lot when you’re preparing for your interviews. You’ll be able to talk about the experience you had in great detail and prove to your interviewer that you’re perfect for the job. However, remember to leave out any personal information about clients so that you don’t breach client confidentiality!
Research the law firm
Another thing that I learnt is that it’s essential to do as much research as possible before you start your placement. Not only will this help reduce your nerves, but will also prepare you for any questions during the interview about the firm so you can impress your interviewers. If you already know a little about the firm before you start, you will make a great first impression and this may lead to more exciting work during your placement, as well as opportunities beyond that.
Ask for feedback
Finally, you should ask for feedback at the end of your legal work experience. While it’s possible to be able to identify where it is you excelled and areas where you can improve yourself, it is much better to ask the people you worked with. You may find that they spot issues with your working style that you have never thought about. It may seem difficult at first, but it’s important to welcome criticism because it’s the best way to improve! By working on improving your weaknesses, this will allow you to become a better candidate for future employers.
If you’re reading this blog then it is likely that you have done exceptionally well in gaining legal work experience in what is a highly competitive job market, so congratulations! If you want to make the most of your experience and better your chances of gaining that dream legal job, then be super keen, build strong working relationships, record your experience, conduct research beforehand and ask for feedback. Good luck!