The Ultimate Guide to Law Work Experience for Year 12 Students
Becoming a lawyer is a challenging process to undertake – and a lot of successful students start early. But it’s difficult to know where to even begin when you’re still at school.
Below we’ve listed a number of ways you can start getting some legal work experience under your belt before starting your apprenticeship or university course. By trying just a couple of these, you will:
Remember: when applying for work experience to institutions, firms or chambers, make sure you write individual applications specific to each place you’re applying to; do not send one application/cover letter to a bunch of different employers! Firms and chambers will receive hundreds, if not thousands, of work experience applications – make sure you tell them exactly why it’s them in particular you want to gain some experience with.
>> Want to know more about what goes in a cover letter? Take a look at our 6 Things to Include in a Law Cover Letter for Work Experience!
Are you currently at school and interested in a career in law? Come to our free ‘Get into Law’ conference: TLP Aspire!
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Law Work Experience Year 12: Visit Your Local Court
A free and hassle- free experience in your local area. Visit your local magistrates court, where a number of public proceedings of summary offences are open to viewing everyday.
This way you can witness a number of different roles at action – the defence, the prosecution, the legal adviser and the judge.
You can also experience the atmosphere of the court, and deduce whether or not this is something you would fit in to. Watch how the barristers work and figure out if this is something that you could see yourself doing!
Finally, study and analyse the structure of the court. Working out the proceedings process will give you a good insight into criminal law. Bring a friend so you can discuss these things together.
Here are some examples of the proceedings you can expect to witness:
- Bail, remand, summons
- Summary proceedings
- Either way offences
- Committal and indictment
Law Work Experience Year 12: Regional Solicitors
Your local branch of solicitors will most likely happily take on an intern for a few days. This is an invaluable opportunity to immerse yourself into the reality of practising law.
Make sure you understand the practice area the solicitors specialise in, and make a list of appropriate questions to ask about this during your time here. You may discover a new area of law you never knew of!
Here are some examples of the work you can expect to do whilst at a regional firm
- Meet with the firm’s clients
- Witness court proceedings involving clients
- Preparing documents for clients
- Researching legal issues for partners
- Reading case-notes to understand a particular case study
Year 12 Law Work Experience: Citizens Advice
The CAB is also another service likely to be local to you. They provide free legal advice for ordinary individuals, usually regarding minor legal issues.
You could ask to shadow an adviser for the day, or perhaps take some time out of education after Sixth Form to train as a adviser yourself. This will give you exposure to perhaps the less cut-throat law that the legal system offers.
>> You can read more about Joe’s account working at Citizens Advice here!
Law Work Experience Year 12: Firm Sixth Form Schemes
Some firms are looking for budding law students like you. There are a number of big London names offering small, unpaid placements to give you a formal insight into the culture of commercial law.
This will look great on your CV as well as give you an early indication of what your potential career might entail.
Here are some examples of firms that offer said experiences:
Law Work Experience Year 12: Connections
Networking is also very effective in gaining work experience. Have you got friends or family whose relatives work in the legal industry? You’ll never know whether or not they are willing to offer you some experience unless you ask!
A variety of opportunities could be within your reach – ask politely if you could shadow them for a couple of days or weeks. Explain how this could be beneficial to your career prospects, apprenticeship or university applications.
Law Work Experience Year 12: Keep Up-to-Date
Build your legal aptitude through reading. A simple and effective way of demonstrating your interest in the law is by swapping your next TV episode for an academic article!
This will be useful in university interviews and work experience applications if you need something to discuss.
Here are some examples of journals and publications you can read with big legal news:
Law Work Experience Year 12: Start Writing!
Fancy yourself to be a pretty decent writer? Apply to write for TLP’s blogs and pages for a great, easy way to boost your CV and applications.
There are no obligations to write a minimum number of articles, so you can pick them up if and when you choose; and best of all, it’s paid!
You can apply here.
Try one, or all of these, opportunities. Find out what sort of lawyer you could be, and sell those experiences in every interview you have following. Make every opportunity count!
Written by Harriet Parfitt, TLP Ambassador for the University of Bristol