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What is the best way to approach a law firm for experience and information? Watch

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    Besides the typical vacation schemes and placements, of course.

    I am a graduate but am thinking of making connections at law firms to get more information on pursuing a career in law and funding.
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    (Original post by AnEvolvedApe)
    Besides the typical vacation schemes and placements, of course.

    I am a graduate but am thinking of making connections at law firms to get more information on pursuing a career in law and funding.
    I think it depends on what kind of firms you are interested in applying/reaching out to and also what kind of questions you are thinking of asking. Big firms will have open days/insight days you can apply to attend and may be less open to being informally approached with questions. Small practices may be open to informal work experience if you write to them and explain your situation.

    The kind of questions you ask are important because firms, especially bigger firms, aren't impressed when people don't do their homework. Big firms have a lot of resources and recruitment material on their websites and social media so there is a lot of information available about what being a trainee is like, what work you will do, what work experience opportunities are available etc. I attended law fairs for the firm I trained with and it was viewed pretty negatively when people hadn't done research on either becoming a solicitor generally or on the firm itself.
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    (Original post by EmSmQs)
    I think it depends on what kind of firms you are interested in applying/reaching out to and also what kind of questions you are thinking of asking. Big firms will have open days/insight days you can apply to attend and may be less open to being informally approached with questions. Small practices may be open to informal work experience if you write to them and explain your situation.

    The kind of questions you ask are important because firms, especially bigger firms, aren't impressed when people don't do their homework. Big firms have a lot of resources and recruitment material on their websites and social media so there is a lot of information available about what being a trainee is like, what work you will do, what work experience opportunities are available etc. I attended law fairs for the firm I trained with and it was viewed pretty negatively when people hadn't done research on either becoming a solicitor generally or on the firm itself.
    I see. So, were you in a similar boat as myself who had just graduated and wanted to change direction? I have done a lot of research already but I aim to ask questions about the firm in particular and to simply network.
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    (Original post by AnEvolvedApe)
    I see. So, were you in a similar boat as myself who had just graduated and wanted to change direction? I have done a lot of research already but I aim to ask questions about the firm in particular and to simply network.
    I had a change of direction but that was before I did my law degree (I did a vocational college course, then Gcses and A levels at another college, then a law degree).

    What kind of questions are you looking to ask and to which firms?
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    As stressed above, it really depends on the type of firms you are aiming for.

    The bigger commercial firms will run careers events and open days that you can attend. There is a whole list of details of those events on sites like Lawcareers.net's Diary page. You could also join an organisation like Aspiring Solicitors or Bright Network as they run lots of events with larger commercial firms too. You may also want to sign up to Citylawlive or Nationallawlive events.

    But if you are thinking of much more niche practice, or areas such as criminal/family/human rights law, such events are less evident. You might want to check the Law Society to see if they have any events for prospective applicants (they do run a number of events in different locations throughout the year). You probably also want to try to speculatively approach people working in firms/industry. If you do try to speculative apporach, then you need an excellent CV/LinkedIn profile and a good reason as to why you have contacted them. Its fairly easy to find people whether its on LinkedIn or the Law Societies "find a solictor" page on their website.
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    (Original post by J-SP)
    As stressed above, it really depends on the type of firms you are aiming for.

    The bigger commercial firms will run careers events and open days that you can attend. There is a whole list of details of those events on sites like Lawcareers.net's Diary page. You could also join an organisation like Aspiring Solicitors or Bright Network as they run lots of events with larger commercial firms too. You may also want to sign up to Citylawlive or Nationallawlive events.

    But if you are thinking of much more niche practice, or areas such as criminal/family/human rights law, such events are less evident. You might want to check the Law Society to see if they have any events for prospective applicants (they do run a number of events in different locations throughout the year). You probably also want to try to speculatively approach people working in firms/industry. If you do try to speculative apporach, then you need an excellent CV/LinkedIn profile and a good reason as to why you have contacted them. Its fairly easy to find people whether its on LinkedIn or the Law Societies "find a solictor" page on their website.
    I have seen Find a Solicitor and the email feature is a lifesaver but then I don't really know who specifically to contact (depending on the size of the company). I am assuming a senior solicitor or partner perhaps, but am not quite sure.
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    (Original post by AnEvolvedApe)
    I have seen Find a Solicitor and the email feature is a lifesaver but then I don't really know who specifically to contact (depending on the size of the company). I am assuming a senior solicitor or partner perhaps, but am not quite sure.
    Depends on what you are asking for. If it is just a meeting to have a chat, then a more junior qualified lawyer will be sufficient, but you need a reason for selecting them out of other people.

    If it’s a request for work experience, then a partner would be more appropriate as they have to agree to have you in their team.

    If you still don’t know who to contact then wonder if you really have enough of a connection to that firm/individual to warrant the “cold-call”.
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    (Original post by J-SP)
    Depends on what you are asking for. If it is just a meeting to have a chat, then a more junior qualified lawyer will be sufficient, but you need a reason for selecting them out of other people.

    If it’s a request for work experience, then a partner would be more appropriate as they have to agree to have you in their team.

    If you still don’t know who to contact then wonder if you really have enough of a connection to that firm/individual to warrant the “cold-call”.
    I am actually looking for both, haha. I would like a chat about their firm and practising law and to then inquire about experience at the end of informational interview.
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    (Original post by AnEvolvedApe)
    I am actually looking for both, haha. I would like a chat about their firm and practising law and to then inquire about experience at the end of informational interview.
    Then contact a more junior solicitor for the chat and in the meeting ask whether they think it’s appropriate to approach their partner for work experience.

    If you are only looking for a chat, then try and find some kind of connection or similarity between you and that individual. Or make sure they have worked on something that you have got a clear and precise interest in.
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    (Original post by J-SP)
    Then contact a more junior solicitor for the chat and in the meeting ask whether they think it’s appropriate to approach their partner for work experience.

    If you are only looking for a chat, then try and find some kind of connection or similarity between you and that individual. Or make sure they have worked on something that you have got a clear and precise interest in.
    I see. But, that is one of my issues. I don't have a precise interest in an area within law. I am really just looking for information on law and a career in law in more general sense.
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    (Original post by AnEvolvedApe)
    I see. But, that is one of my issues. I don't have a precise interest in an area within law. I am really just looking for information on law and a career in law in more general sense.
    Given that's the case I think you would be better off looking at online resources to begin with until you can identify some areas of practice/types of firm that are of interest. The following websites may be useful, in addition to those resources already identified by J-SP:
    https://l2b.thelawyer.com
    http://www.chambersstudent.co.uk
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    (Original post by AnEvolvedApe)
    I see. But, that is one of my issues. I don't have a precise interest in an area within law. I am really just looking for information on law and a career in law in more general sense.
    Then it doesn’t really make sense to contact someone like this unless you have some kind of connection to them (same school, same degree at same uni, through friends/family contacts etc). I’d go to some more general careers events instead. You can do that via your uni or by looking at events on the Law Society’s website/lawcareers.net
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    (Original post by EmSmQs)
    Given that's the case I think you would be better off looking at online resources to begin with until you can identify some areas of practice/types of firm that are of interest. The following websites may be useful, in addition to those resources already identified by J-SP:
    https://l2b.thelawyer.com
    http://www.chambersstudent.co.uk
    (Original post by J-SP)
    Then it doesn’t really make sense to contact someone like this unless you have some kind of connection to them (same school, same degree at same uni, through friends/family contacts etc). I’d go to some more general careers events instead. You can do that via your uni or by looking at events on the Law Society’s website/lawcareers.net
    There is a law careers fair I am attending soon at another University. However, I am a graduate already and have left university wanting a to pursue a different career. I have done a quite a lot of research of the pathways into law and I am open to suggestions/options. My primary goal is to make contacts and connections with various law firms and would rather hear from the horse's mouth, if I am to be honest and I have been to careers advisers but they are absolutely useless.
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    Are there any specific types of law you're interested in? Or types of firm? It may be difficult to have meaningful conversations with lawyers without some parameters around what you might be interested in.
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    (Original post by AnEvolvedApe)
    There is a law careers fair I am attending soon at another University. However, I am a graduate already and have left university wanting a to pursue a different career. I have done a quite a lot of research of the pathways into law and I am open to suggestions/options. My primary goal is to make contacts and connections with various law firms and would rather hear from the horse's mouth, if I am to be honest and I have been to careers advisers but they are absolutely useless.
    I’m not telling you to go to careers advisor but your vagueness is not going to be appealing to many even if it is just a chat. You must have some idea what kind of law appeals though - family or criminal law couldn’t be much different to commercial law.

    The only way that might work is if you can show some kind of connection between you and them.

    There are a whole load of networking events out there to go to if it is commercial law you are interested in. Look at the websites already mentioned - follow the Junior Lawyers Division too. That might help with some info/networking opportunities.
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    (Original post by EmSmQs)
    Are there any specific types of law you're interested in? Or types of firm? It may be difficult to have meaningful conversations with lawyers without some parameters around what you might be interested in.
    (Original post by J-SP)
    I’m not telling you to go to careers advisor but your vagueness is not going to be appealing to many even if it is just a chat. You must have some idea what kind of law appeals though - family or criminal law couldn’t be much different to commercial law.

    The only way that might work is if you can show some kind of connection between you and them.

    There are a whole load of networking events out there to go to if it is commercial law you are interested in. Look at the websites already mentioned - follow the Junior Lawyers Division too. That might help with some info/networking opportunities.
    I do have a vague intrigue in the aspects of wills, probate, family, housing, employment and welfare law, in particular...
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    (Original post by AnEvolvedApe)
    I do have a vague intrigue in the aspects of wills, probate, family, housing, employment and welfare law, in particular...
    Ok - getting funding in those areas will be fairly difficult, namely where there isn't a lot of money in it.

    The higher ends of commercial employment law will, but everything else relies much more heavily on people self-funding.

    In that case, find someone like you working in these areas. Type in your school name or degree subject, or something unique about you (e.g. if you are from outside of the UK, then search for people who are the same nationality as you) into LinkedIn with the words solicitor and your geographical location and see who comes up. At least you will have something in common with them to try and justify a conversation with.

    You might also want to do something like volunteer at the CAB or a legal clinic to get more insight into these areas. You will meet legal volunteers/support lawyers in these places and can get more insight from them, as well as other people working there.
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    (Original post by J-SP)
    Ok - getting funding in those areas will be fairly difficult, namely where there isn't a lot of money in it.

    The higher ends of commercial employment law will, but everything else relies much more heavily on people self-funding.

    In that case, find someone like you working in these areas. Type in your school name or degree subject, or something unique about you (e.g. if you are from outside of the UK, then search for people who are the same nationality as you) into LinkedIn with the words solicitor and your geographical location and see who comes up. At least you will have something in common with them to try and justify a conversation with.

    You might also want to do something like volunteer at the CAB or a legal clinic to get more insight into these areas. You will meet legal volunteers/support lawyers in these places and can get more insight from them, as well as other people working there.
    I see. Well funding would indeed be an issue as I can no way afford to do a GDL (otherwise I would have applied already). Earlier today, I contacted a local law clinic that specialises in welfare and housing, so will see if I can volunteer there whilst considering my options.
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    (Original post by AnEvolvedApe)
    I see. Well funding would indeed be an issue as I can no way afford to do a GDL (otherwise I would have applied already). Earlier today, I contacted a local law clinic that specialises in welfare and housing, so will see if I can volunteer there whilst considering my options.
    Most people who go into those areas of law have to self fund so end up working to pay for the course. You can now get PG loans for the topped up Masters GDL or LPC courses though, which may make it easier.

    Other consideration is to do the course part-time.

    Sponsorship/funding of the GDL and even the LPC is limited to a very small number of bursaries, or is generally only at the top end of the commercial law market. Most firms/organisations in the areas you highlighted are struggling financially as it is, so can’t really afford to pile money into prospective trainees.

    You might want to look into the GLS - although that doesn’t guarantee GDL support, only states it might be able to provide financial support. Does support the LPC though.
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    (Original post by J-SP)
    Most people who go into those areas of law have to self fund so end up working to pay for the course. You can now get PG loans for the topped up Masters GDL or LPC courses though, which may make it easier.

    Other consideration is to do the course part-time.

    Sponsorship/funding of the GDL and even the LPC is limited to a very small number of bursaries, or is generally only at the top end of the commercial law market. Most firms/organisations in the areas you highlighted are struggling financially as it is, so can’t really afford to pile money into prospective trainees.

    You might want to look into the GLS - although that doesn’t guarantee GDL support, only states it might be able to provide financial support. Does support the LPC though.
    I wasn't aware of the loans for the GDL? Are they offered by student finance? I have researched PG loans but have not came across loans for the GDL.
 
 
 
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