Teachers’ Guide – Law Work Experience
Are you a school teacher wanting to know more about law work experience opportunities for school age children? This page aims to provide a breakdown of the different types of experience available to this age group along with advice on how students can get involved.
Deciding to study and practice law is not a decision that should be taken lightly. With around six years of intensive study and practical legal training, it’s vital that students make the right decisions early on, rather than rushing into something which they later come to regret.
You might want to suggest to your students, therefore, that before they commit to studying and pursuing a career in law, they try to undertake some legal work experience. Such experience will help them to make informed decisions about their future and whether a career in law is right for them.
Structured law work experience opportunities for school age children are unfortunately are few and far between. This does not mean, however, that students at this level will be unable to gain experience, they just need to be a little bit more creative!
Teacher’s Guide: Top Tips for Legal Work Experience
- Tell students to use any contacts where possible to get experience, whether it be a solicitor friend practising in a local law firm or a next door neighbour who is a barrister!
- For those who do not have the luxury of contacts to call upon, there are still ways of gaining law work experience. There is nothing to stop students from sending off speculative letters to local law firms and barristers chambers requesting work experience or even just a day in the office to see how it all works. Students just need to ensure that any letters are tailored and personal to the law firm or chambers in question. Generic letters are likely to end up in the bin – they need to go all out!
- Get down to the local Crown Court! Crown Courts have public viewing galleries, so anyone can go and observe. All you have to do is look at the case listings for the day, decide which case is of interest and ask an usher to be directed to the relevant court. It’s very straightforward and a great way of experiencing what life in the courtroom might entail.
- There is an organisation called PRIME which provides legal work experience within a law firm setting to state-educated children who qualify for free school meals (amongst other criteria). The scheme has been developed with the aim of widening participation to the profession and providing opportunities to those who may otherwise not get the chance. If any of your students fall into this category, it would be worth you pointing them in the direction of the PRIME website to see which opportunities are available at that time.