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Work experience question for aspiring Barrister Watch

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    Okay so I'm a little stumped at the moment. Basically, I'm French, I've completed all of my studies and I'm preparing to undertake the GDL in September to get started with training to be a Barrister. I have an undergraduate in Law (but from France) and also three postgraduate law qualifications (but, again, from foreign). I want to make the most of this time before taking the GDL and get some good work experience in (not to mention some money, but that's not my biggest concern) - what is the best thing for me to be doing? I feel a bit like a fish in water. Would secretarial work in a Firm be a complete waste of time? I have no idea. Obviously I'm applying for mini p's, vac schemes etc., but I'd like to know what it is that potential barristers do when they're not coming straight from your average, back to back Uni course route.

    Thanks, in advance, for anyone's potential help.
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    (Original post by Quicksand)
    Okay so I'm a little stumped at the moment. Basically, I'm French, I've completed all of my studies and I'm preparing to undertake the GDL in September to get started with training to be a Barrister. I have an undergraduate in Law (but from France) and also three postgraduate law qualifications (but, again, from foreign). I want to make the most of this time before taking the GDL and get some good work experience in (not to mention some money, but that's not my biggest concern) - what is the best thing for me to be doing? I feel a bit like a fish in water. Would secretarial work in a Firm be a complete waste of time? I have no idea. Obviously I'm applying for mini p's, vac schemes etc., but I'd like to know what it is that potential barristers do when they're not coming straight from your average, back to back Uni course route.

    Thanks, in advance, for anyone's potential help.
    I think that your initial idea – i.e. legal secretary/paralegal work is a decent bet. Assuming you know what (general) area of law you would like to practice, then getting some experience in that sector could be valuable. I did some paralegal work a few years before securing pupillage. However, it is more of a box ticking achievement rather than your “passport to success”. Unless you are doing something uniquely innovative, then chambers won’t generally be too impressed. However, you will acquire commercial nous/acumen which could potentially assist answering interview questions. However, if you want to do chancery/commercial work for example – then don’t undertake something completely unrelated (like crime). It looks unfocussed.

    Alternatively, London has a thriving tech start up scene around Old Street (and other places). Many firms starting off need to navigate legal (and commercial) terrain and adhere to government regulations and EU legislation. For example, registering trademarks, negotiating supplier contracts, hiring staff, managing relationships with external legal help, drafting corporate structure documents (i.e. funding documents/shareholders agreement/board meetings minutes). However, such firms typically view this as a pain, don’t place any great emphasis on legal support and so experienced lawyers aren’t hired. They hire cheaply and so might be an opening for someone young/cheap and able to bull**** an interest in what they are doing. In terms of looking for these jobs – the internet and persistence is all that is required. The roles will be commercially focussed so don’t exclude jobs just because they don’t have “legal/lawyer” in the job title.

    Finally, because the legal market is tight, it may be beneficial to get non-legal work experience in a respected industry. (Finance in my opinion). Your options are limited to temporary support work (covering maternity leave for example). Recruitment companies such as Victoria Walls (and no I don’t work for them, but used them to find my last job after BPTC which acted as springboard to pupillage) specialise in finding support staff for hedge funds. They are generally well paid. Chambers would probably be more impressed with this – rather than paralegal work.

    Good luck
 
 
 
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