Societies are an integral part of your university experience and are important to prospective employers. They demonstrate integration into university life, a commitment and dedication to your interests, the ability to interact and collaborate with others and the development of soft skills that make you employable. From law societies and local publications to charity organisations and music ensembles, there are various groups aspiring lawyers should consider at university.
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Law societies are an invaluable resource for students wanting to pursue a career in law. They host activities such as mooting. This is the “closest experience” to appearing in court a student can have while at university. These activities are useful to include on applications as they demonstrate appropriate legal experience. They also develop various key skills that are attractive to prospective employers. Law societies also organise career events to which they invite representatives from law firms. You can gain a crucial insight into what firms look for in candidates as well as the intricacies that make the firms unique. Furthermore, law societies are a perfect way to surround yourself with like-minded peers and form a network of professionals.
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The Lawyer Portal aims to be the definitive resource for any aspiring legal professional. They provide information on becoming a barrister, solicitor, paralegal, chartered legal executive or a legal apprentice. Most universities in the UK have an ambassador who represents The Lawyer Portal on campus. They share events such as the annual Training Contract and Vacation Scheme Conference as well as helpful articles and podcasts to support you through each stage of your legal career and the various applications. Ambassadors will also host regular events such as workshops, talks and mock trials. This allows you to interact and discuss law with your peers and develop soft skills.
Model United Nations increases global awareness, introducing you to issues across the world. This is particularly important if you have an interest in international, human rights or commercial law. You’ll come across relevant case studies that you can talk about in interviews. Through Model UN you can also familiarise yourself with legal terms as well as in-depth research and resolution writing, all of which better equips you for a legal career.
Also, it is important to bear in mind that in applications listing your characteristics is not enough. You need to back up your statements that demonstrate your skills. For example, if you are claiming to be a confident public speaker with strong leadership skills. Being a member on Model UN and participating in debates demonstrates this.
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Similar to Model UN, debating society is a popular choice for aspiring lawyers. It is a good way to hone your research and writing skills. Most importantly, joining a debating society will ensure you participate actively in discussions and are comfortable speaking to a large group of people. Confidence and the ability to presenting your ideas to an audience are invaluable skills for any legal professional. This ability will not only boost your CVs and applications, but also hopefully come through in interviews, open days and other law-related events.
With a number of important causes looking for volunteers to contribute a few hours of their time a week, charity groups are a perfect way to give back to your local community. Most people list causes they are passionate about on their LinkedIn profiles or volunteering they did as part of their Duke of Edinburgh Awards in their CVs.
Moreover, by carrying out volunteering work, you also demonstrate a genuine interest in charity work that goes beyond the requirements of awards. This would help you stand out from the thousands of other applicants who list brief volunteering roles.
Furthermore, if you can arrange to provide pro bono legal services, you can demonstrate practical experience of law and your abilities in a real-life legal setting. You are also combining your interest in law with your desire to aid others.
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Employers love finding out about your interests beyond the classroom and well-rounded individuals, committed to their hobbies always stand out. If you play the violin, can carry a tune or enjoy kicking a football around, it’s time to check out your university’s various music and sports groups to get involved. Commitment to a sport or instrument demonstrates self-discipline, organisation and perseverance. They highlight your adaptability to new people and situations and your ability to interact with others to form a successful team. Most importantly, sports team and music ensemble offer a much-needed reprieve from the stresses and pressures your studies pose.
A career in law requires a high level of writing proficiency. You must be able to write clearly, concisely and frame an argument on paper. Writing for a university publication hones research and writing skills which you can easily translate into a legal career. You will also have the opportunity to work with an editorial team, and perhaps become an editor. This will demonstrate your ability to, cooperate and collaborate with a group and manage and lead others. Other soft skills that are developed are organisation as you work towards deadlines and tight schedules. These will also be an important and constant feature of life as a lawyer.
Multi-lingual lawyers are high in demand, particularly in international firms. Joining a languages club allows you to brush up on your conversation skills. You may also have the opportunity to immerse yourself into a foreign language and culture. Whether you’re fluent or just starting out, languages clubs offer valuable practice and hone skills highly sought after by prospective employers.
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Author: Siobhan Ali
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