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Gap year - extracurriculars for a career at the Bar or law firm Watch

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    I am attending university part-time this year (i am treating it as a gap year) and would like to get some advice on what to do with my free time in order to better prepare myself for a career in law (I am currently studying for a Law degree).

    I am considering my options but so far my plan is to read a book every week (either law or fiction) and go to clubs and societies at my uni.

    would you recommend getting a part-time job or study a short course in economics online at Oxford or other institutions? If anyone could recommend me some books to read that would be great!

    Thank you
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    (Original post by law13457)
    I am attending university part-time this year (i am treating it as a gap year) and would like to get some advice on what to do with my free time in order to better prepare myself for a career in law (I am currently studying for a Law degree).

    I am considering my options but so far my plan is to read a book every week (either law or fiction) and go to clubs and societies at my uni.

    would you recommend getting a part-time job or study a short course in economics online at Oxford or other institutions? If anyone could recommend me some books to read that would be great!

    Thank you
    1) Volunteer at the citizens advice bureau
    2) Volunteer at the witness service
    3) Keep up to date with your commercial knowledge and how the news relates to law firms
    4) Work in retails (for that commercial knowledge)
    5) Go to law firm open days, workshops etc...
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    (Original post by 06moca1)
    1) Volunteer at the citizens advice bureau
    2) Volunteer at the witness service
    3) Keep up to date with your commercial knowledge and how the news relates to law firms
    4) Work in retails (for that commercial knowledge)
    5) Go to law firm open days, workshops etc...
    Thanks for the reply- more suggestions welcome
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    Whilst I admire your desire to be as prepared for a career in law as you possibly can be, all of us lawyers are human beings when we're not being lawyers. Doing everything with the aim of preparing for law is counter productive, because being an individual person with your own interests and pursuits away from law is just as essential as ticking all of the boxes for a training contract or pupillage application, and in fact will often directly help you to tick those boxes.

    There are of course a number of things you can do that will help as extra curricular activities for a legal career. Volunteering not only at the CBA and witness service, but also the Personal Support Unit and potentially the Free Representation Unit, are all worthwhile. Certain activities such as debating and mooting are obviously relevant, as are attending workshops, open days and other similar events. You can also look to secure some specific work experience such mini pupillages and marshalling. Getting a part time job is fine. Obviously if you can find a part time job in the legal sector, such as a paralegal, that's helpful, but really it's not expected or essential while you're studying for your law degree.

    The two suggestions in the first post that I would take issue with are the studying for an extra course and reading a book every week. I would put a big note of caution in relation to doing an extra course, because you should be focusing on your law degree. Doing an extra course won't do you any good at all if you fall short in your law degree. Unless there is another course that you really want to do (as in you have a specific interest in it) and you are sure it won't interfere with your law degree, then fine, but generally I would advise against it.

    The reading ambition is a little different. Reading is good, but do it to enjoy it. If you force yourself to do it you're just going to turn yourself off it. So by all means do read a lot of books (I would love to read a book a week if I had the time), but read what you enjoy and broaden your horizons from there. Don't force yourself into reading law books for the sake of it, though by all means feel free if you find some that interest you.

    The advice about reading applies to other interests as well. If you have other interests, university is your opportunity to pursue them, so make sure you do. If you don't have other interests, university is the place to find them. It's never, ever all about law. University prepares you for your future career (to a degree), but it's also a great place to develop personally and socially quite apart from any career ambitions you have. So make sure you take the time to handle the personal side of things as well, because after university you may well find that your chances in that regard are significantly more restricted.

    Notwithstanding what I've just said about reading, keeping up with 'commercial awareness' (which broadly means keeping up to date with law, politics and business news) is important. Students often finishing their studies with a desperate lack of knowledge about how the legal industry actually operates in the real world. You obviously cannot suddenly gain experience that you don't have, but keeping up with commercial awareness can provide you with an edge when it comes to understanding practical issues and elements of the legal world, and it can certainly help you in interviews. There are many ways to do that nowadays. You can read newspapers, but you can also potentially do it easier by making smart use of platforms like Twitter. Either way, this is absolutely one thing that you should be doing when it comes to reading.
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    (Original post by Crazy Jamie)
    Whilst I admire your desire to be as prepared for a career in law as you possibly can be, all of us lawyers are human beings when we're not being lawyers. Doing everything with the aim of preparing for law is counter productive, because being an individual person with your own interests and pursuits away from law is just as essential as ticking all of the boxes for a training contract or pupillage application, and in fact will often directly help you to tick those boxes.

    There are of course a number of things you can do that will help as extra curricular activities for a legal career. Volunteering not only at the CBA and witness service, but also the Personal Support Unit and potentially the Free Representation Unit, are all worthwhile. Certain activities such as debating and mooting are obviously relevant, as are attending workshops, open days and other similar events. You can also look to secure some specific work experience such mini pupillages and marshalling. Getting a part time job is fine. Obviously if you can find a part time job in the legal sector, such as a paralegal, that's helpful, but really it's not expected or essential while you're studying for your law degree.

    The two suggestions in the first post that I would take issue with are the studying for an extra course and reading a book every week. I would put a big note of caution in relation to doing an extra course, because you should be focusing on your law degree. Doing an extra course won't do you any good at all if you fall short in your law degree. Unless there is another course that you really want to do (as in you have a specific interest in it) and you are sure it won't interfere with your law degree, then fine, but generally I would advise against it.

    The reading ambition is a little different. Reading is good, but do it to enjoy it. If you force yourself to do it you're just going to turn yourself off it. So by all means do read a lot of books (I would love to read a book a week if I had the time), but read what you enjoy and broaden your horizons from there. Don't force yourself into reading law books for the sake of it, though by all means feel free if you find some that interest you.

    The advice about reading applies to other interests as well. If you have other interests, university is your opportunity to pursue them, so make sure you do. If you don't have other interests, university is the place to find them. It's never, ever all about law. University prepares you for your future career (to a degree), but it's also a great place to develop personally and socially quite apart from any career ambitions you have. So make sure you take the time to handle the personal side of things as well, because after university you may well find that your chances in that regard are significantly more restricted.

    Notwithstanding what I've just said about reading, keeping up with 'commercial awareness' (which broadly means keeping up to date with law, politics and business news) is important. Students often finishing their studies with a desperate lack of knowledge about how the legal industry actually operates in the real world. You obviously cannot suddenly gain experience that you don't have, but keeping up with commercial awareness can provide you with an edge when it comes to understanding practical issues and elements of the legal world, and it can certainly help you in interviews. There are many ways to do that nowadays. You can read newspapers, but you can also potentially do it easier by making smart use of platforms like Twitter. Either way, this is absolutely one thing that you should be doing when it comes to reading.
    Thank you for taking the time to write such a long answer, I will take your advice and just enjoy my time at university. I do read one book per week for pleasure as there are loads of books on my reading list that I wanted to read and did not have the time.
 
 
 
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