Pursuing a career in law is highly competitive, so if you already know that it’s the field you want to go into, it’s best to start getting work experience as soon as possible. This will help you in your future applications to apprenticeships, university and job opportunities while simultaneously giving you a better idea of the areas of law that most interest you.
However, as a school student it can be challenging to get legal work experience. Most law firms’ vacation schemes are targeted at university students, and health and safety can often be a barrier to under-18s.
If you’re looking for legal work experience during your GCSEs or A-Levels, read our top tips below!
Top law firms want to talk to you about their work experience opportunities. Find out more about how Vantage can help you land work experience.
Year 12 Law Work Experience: Shadowing Experiences
It would be worthwhile researching local law firms and chambers and contacting them in order to request a week or two of work experience during your school holidays. This will involve “shadowing”, or observing, solicitors and barristers as they go about their day-to-day activities.
This experience will allow you an insight into the role of a solicitor or barrister, the kind of work that they do and whether it is a career that you would ultimately like to pursue. This understanding will also be really helpful for your future applications.
If you know anyone that works at a law firm, or have a friend that does, this can be another good way of getting some work experience. Use any connections you have and don’t be too embarrassed to ask – anyone with a career in law will have done so themselves in the past!
Volunteering can be another really great way of gaining some legal work experience and there are hundreds of legal charities and law-related organisations across the UK – you can take a look at some through our page The Ultimate Guide to Pro Bono Work Experience.
Whilst larger organisations will generally have an age limit which might prevent you from applying, there are plenty of smaller organisations who are desperate for volunteers. Have a think about the area of law and issues that interest you and then begin looking into the organisations that are operating in your city.
While you might not always get to do the really exciting legal work, volunteering will equip you with a range of practical skills you can discuss in applications and interviews. If you want to stand out from other legal CVs, this is the place to start.
Year 12 Law Work Experience: Writing Opportunities
One of the easiest options you can start at school and instantly enhance a CV with is writing. Is there a legal news story that takes your fancy? Want to write about your law A-level revision to help other anxious students? Few things make your interest more obvious than writing weekly/fortnightly articles on your future career path.
Not sure where to start? Here at TLP, we look for passionate contributors who enjoy writing about law or legal careers and can use their experiences or opinions to inspire other readers. Whether you’re just starting GCSEs or filling out your UCAS form, you can apply to write for us here.
Year 12 Law Work Experience: Formal Work Experience
While the majority of law firms and chambers do not offer formal work experience to school students, there are a minority that do.
Matrix Chambers and Old Square Chambers both also offer work experience to school students so if you’re considering a career as a barrister, these might well be an option for you.
Early work experience may put you at an advantage, but don’t be disheartened if you can’t seem to get any.
University and apprenticeships offer their own opportunities for you to further your interest in law in a variety of different ways. The best thing you can do is to just keep learning – read legal news, work hard at your A-levels, and when the time comes, those firms and chambers will want you in their ranks.