Work Experience 2011

I worked in a regional London-based firm with another small office elsewhere in the UK specialising in no win no fee compensation claims. The firm had many paralegals because Read more

It's end of October and unless you are a first year, you need to start looking at law firms and whether they can offer you a summer placement.

A summer placement is an excellent way of finding more about the law firm and about yourselves as well. Some of you have grown up with the preconception that you will be whizzing around Clifford & Chance or Slaughter & May office after graduation, but actually after doing work experience in several various-size law firms, you find that in the long run you would prefer working regular hours in the countryside near the city rather than in the city... Ooh la la, opinions change! However, it is good to position yourself and realize what is that you want ealier rather than later. And that's what summer placements are all about.

Not only that, if you find the company you have worked for was a very satisfying experience and you might want to do the training contract with them then it is a very good start. This is because many employersoffermany summer placement students training contracts, upon application obviously. They had a chance to see that you are interested in their company, they got to know you - how you got on with work, how you worked under pressure, whether you got on with staff, did you learn from the mistakes that you made during the placement, and the list continues.

Many law firms I presume have already opened the application process for these placements. The deadlines are very tight - end of December / beginning of January in most cases.Hence, don't leave itto the last minute and get on with it! Research the companies you want to work for. We have recently been given 'The Training Contract & Pupillage Handbook 2011' [free edition published by the Law Society]. This handout should be available from your university careers centre or law library. It is a very useful publication, obviously aimed at people who are looking for training contracts or pupillages; however, it gives very good overviews of areas of law. So if you have an interest in a particular area of law - very easy to sift through the companies that would suit you. It also gives explanations to different areas of law one can get involved in. A particularly interesting section is at the front of the publication where many students are given as examples - what they studied for degree level, where they had summer placements, their reflections on the experience and further information on the placements: renumeration, location etc. They also have company profiles where they describe the company and mention whether they do work experience as well. Brilliant.

As to the applications:itusually takes a while to complete one.People in the year above were quoting '3 full days' and various figures around that,so you need to leave yourself enough timeto make several really good application, proof read them (or somebody else even better) and submit them in good time! Doing this in time shows how good you are at time management.

Another quick note, apparently, many people forget tochange the name of the company when they apply, so they copy paste the same material from on application to another referencing a particular company and forget to change the name after they have done that. Obviously,a silly thing to do, sodon't do it!

Make sureyou research the company well and when filling in the application make it relevant to thatcompany. Show them that you are interested in them and in turn they will be interested in you.

Enough blabbing for now - good luck with the applications. Any questions - please comment.

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Savanna Tyche Gray

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